Group sues to halt California refinery revamp

A California-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit requesting a state superior court to revoke a permit that would allow Chevron Corp. to proceed with its long-delayed plan for a $1 billion modernization project at the 257,000-b/d Richmond, Calif., refinery.

Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) lodged the suit on June 5 against the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the public agency responsible for regulating stationary sources of air pollution in the nine counties that surround San Francisco Bay.

The suit alleges that BAAQMD engaged in “flagrant disregard” of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when it initially granted and subsequently renewed an air permit to Chevron for construction of the Richmond project before a final environmental impact report (EIR) was made available for a public review and commentary period, according to CBE’s filing in San Francisco Superior Court.

While the city of Richmond released a long-awaited revised draft EIR for the refinery modernization earlier this year showing substantive differences from a previous 2008 EIR for the project (OGJ Online, Mar. 19, 2014), BAAQMD has yet to consider these differences or, more importantly, consider a final EIR as required by CEQA, the petition said.

CBE also contends that the Richmond modernization project—which would increase greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 million tonnes/year—has yet to be reviewed under the heightened scrutiny of federal laws governing air permitting since BAAQMD last renewed the permit in 2012 (OGJ Online, July 3, 2012).

In addition to its request that the air permit be invalidated, CBE also has asked the court to direct BAAQMD to refrain from granting Chevron any further approvals to advance the Richmond modernization project until the company has fully complied with all applicable requirements under both state and federal law.

Chevron’s attempts to modernize the Richmond refinery date back to nearly a decade, when in 2005, the company proposed a hydrogen and energy renewal project (HRP) at the plant (OGJ Online, Oct. 26, 2006).

In 2008, the city of Richmond approved the HRP as well as certified the HRP EIR, which California courts ordered to be set aside in 2010 based on a determination that it obscured the project’s objective of refining a heavier crude oil feedstock and failed to adequately analyze GHG emissions, according to information from both Chevron’s project web site and CBE’s petition.

In 2011, Chevron submitted an application to the city of Richmond for its revised modernization project, which reduces the overall scope of the 2008 project, Chevron said.

The current project—which will replace some of the refinery’s oldest processing equipment with safer modern technology meeting some of the toughest air quality standards in the US—will not change the basic operation or capacity of the refinery (OGJ Online, Mar. 19, 2014).

The project, however, will give the refinery flexibility to process crude oil blends and gas oils containing higher levels of sulfur while meeting strict environmental regulations with the installation throughout the plant of flanges, valves, vessels, and other components meeting local and federal air pollution standards, the company said.

“The modernization project is not about refining Canadian tar sands or heavy crude, and it will not allow the refinery to receive crude oil by rail or pipeline,” Chevron said in March (OGJ Online, Mar. 19, 2014).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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. ...

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

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...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

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...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

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...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

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
Available Webcasts


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Wed, Oct 7, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.

register:WEBCAST


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

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