EPA grants final approval for Texas refinery expansion

The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final permit to Flint Hills Resources to proceed with its project aimed at increasing processing capabilities for Eagle Ford crude at its 230,000-b/d West refinery in Corpus Christi, Tex.

The final greenhouse gas (GHG) prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) construction permit became effective on May 23, EPA reported.

The proposed project, termed the Domestic Crude Project (DCP), proposes to add and modify certain equipment at the West refinery to enable the plant to process a larger percentage of light, US crude oil in lieu of heavier, foreign crude feedstocks, according to the final PSD.

The DCP includes the construction of a new process unit and other equipment to process lighter-end products, which alongside increased utilization of existing equipment and debottlenecking work, will increase the refinery’s crude oil processing capacity by about 7%, the PSD said.

Specifically, the project involves modification of equipment at the continuous catalytic regeneration hot oil heater as well as the addition of a saturates gas plant, which will contain a hot oil heater, with both heaters equipped with technology designed to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds, the permit said.

Flint Hills also will install a mid-plant cooling tower, equipment piping, process vessels, and two storage tanks as part of the DCP, the PSD said.

The final PSD follows an accord Flint Hills reached with environmental groups in late-2013 to implement additional emissions-reduction measures and more-stringent monitoring at the West refinery (OGJ Online, Dec. 12, 2013).

Flint Hills, a unit of Koch Industries Inc., first announced the plan to spend more than $250 million to revamp its Corpus Christi refinery to increase processing capacity of oil from the nearby Eagle Ford shale play in 2012 that it planned (OGJ Online, Aug. 27, 2012).

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