Sinclair Tulsa plans refinery expansion

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Sept. 13 -- Sinclair Tulsa Refining Co. plans a major expansion of its 70,000 b/d Tulsa refinery. The company said recent changes in federal and state tax law have been an encouraging factor in its decision.

The expansion project is expected to increase the facility's output of ultralow-sulfur gasoline and diesel. A net reduction in actual refinery emissions, also could be realized after the expansion is completed, Sinclair said.

Three major components are involved in the project. These include the facility's refining capacity, which will be increased by 45,000 b/d to 115,000 b/d; a new delayed coker unit, which will be added to increase refinery output of gasoline and diesel; and modifications to the plant to enable processing of a wider range of oil, including heavy, sour crude.

The delayed coker unit will use odor and particulate control technology that has been successfully demonstrated in California.

Sinclair recently applied to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality for an air quality construction permit for the expansion project. The application indicates the expansion will be below the Prevention of Significant Deterioration significance thresholds for all criteria pollutants.

Assuming ODEQ approves the permit, construction work could begin in 2008, with project completion expected in 2011.

Sinclair also plans to install a flare gas recovery system to minimize flaring.

In addition, the company proposes to treat refinery wastewater to an acceptable level for discharging into Tulsa's treatment system.

Earlier this year, a federal judge ordered STRC to pay a $5 million criminal fine and sentenced two of its former managers to 6 months of home detention and 3 years of probation for violating provisions of the US Clean Water Act (OGJ Online, Apr. 12, 2007).

The company and its two former employees previously admitted to knowingly manipulating refinery processes and wastewater flows and discharges to create unrepresentative samplings during mandatory sampling under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program. The US Department of Justice said the manipulated samples were intended to influence analytical testing results reported to ODEQ and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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