Conoco and Holly settle alleged clean air refinery violations

By the OGJ Online Staff

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 20 -- The US Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday announced settlements with refiners Conoco Inc. and Holly Corp. over alleged federal clean air violations.

Under the action, the refiners also reached agreements with the states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico. DOJ said that because Conoco and Holly negotiated in good faith, the settlements were reached without litigation.

The proposed consent decrees are still subject to a 30-day public comment period.

US environmental officials have reached similar agreements over the past year with Motiva Enterprises, Equilon Enterprises, Deer Park Refining LP, Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, Koch Petroleum Group, and BP PLC.

A consent decree filed in US District Court in Houston will require Conoco to spend $95-$110 million to install the "best available technology" to control emissions from stacks, wastewater vents, leaking valves, and flares throughout its refineries.

Another consent decree, filed in US District Court in Albuquerque, NM, requires Holly subsidiaries Navajo and Montana Refining to spend 16-$21 million to undertake similar projects.

The agreement with Conoco will affect its 245,000 b/d refinery at Westlake near Lake Charles, La.; its 174,000 b/d refinery at Ponca City, Okla.; its 57,500 b/d refinery at Commerce City, Colo.; and its 55,100 b/d refinery at Billings, Mont.

The agreement with Navajo and Montana Refining will affect a 60,000 b/d refinery at Artesia, NM, and a 7,000 b/d refinery at Great Falls, Mont.

The affected refineries comprise about 3.5% of the US' total refining capacity, DOJ said.

"These settlements are a victory for the environment and the public," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "They exemplify the U.S. government's commitment to protect our natural resources, to promote cleaner air, and to ensure that companies are complying with environmental law."

Environmental groups were critical of the settlement, arguing more should be done to ensure refiners and power plant owners follow "new source" review rules. The administration is expected shortly to issue new guidelines on how refiners and power plant operators should monitor stationary source emissions under NSR.

"This settlement announced today raises an interesting question: if companies like Conoco can agree to reduce their emissions, increase output, and still make a good profit, why do other companies still demand "reform" of new source review?" said Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Trust. "All these companies were responding to federal investigations that they violated the NSR provisions of the Clean Air Act.

"These settlements undercut the basic premise of the Cheney energy task force -- that new source review was inhibiting energy development," said O'Donnell.

Related Articles

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

SIBUR plans MTBE expansion at Togliattikauchuk

07/01/2015 Russian conglomerate OAO SIBUR Holding, Moscow, has started preparatory work for a project designed to expand production capacity for methyl tertia...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...

USGS: Water usage for fracturing varies widely across shale plays

07/01/2015 The volume of water required to hydraulically fracture wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national analysis and map of ...

Case for Keystone XL has grown stronger, TransCanada tells Kerry

06/30/2015 Canada is taking strong steps toward combating climate change, and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline crude oil pipeline remains in the US national ...

OxyChem-Mexichem JV lets contract for ethylene storage

06/30/2015 Ingleside Ethylene LLC, a 50-50 joint venture of Occidental Chemical Corp. (OxyChem) and Mexichem SAB de CV (Mexichem), has let a contract to CB&am...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

When Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

When Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected