Koch to produce more low-sulfur fuels

Koch Petroleum Group LP, a unit of Koch Industries Inc., Wichita, Kan., will introduce a low-sulfur gasoline for the 2001 summer season to the markets served by its Corpus Christi, Tex., refinery. Koch will invest $28 million in the project, which it says will produce gasoline with sulfur levels 50% lower than today's industry average.


Koch Petroleum Group LP, a unit of Koch Industries Inc., Wichita, Kan., will introduce a low-sulfur gasoline for the 2001 summer season to the markets served by its Corpus Christi, Tex., refinery.

Koch will invest $28 million in the project, which it says will produce gasoline with sulfur levels 50% lower than today's industry average. Koch will then invest more than $130 million more to achieve a 90% cut in sulfur levels in its gasoline by 2005, to meet anticipated federal requirements.

The low-sulfur gasoline is expected to be available in May 2001.

"Modeling suggests that this process will reduce the sulfur in the gasoline pool to a range of 150-160 ppm without any change in fuel quality," said Koch. "Sulfur content in gasoline varies greatly, depending upon such factors as seasonal differences, fuel grade and crude type."

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory impact analysis, current industry average sulfur content is 307 ppm.

The Koch refinery will supply this gasoline to the Texas markets of Austin, Corpus Christi, Waco, and San Antonio.

Austin is on the verge of losing its ozone attainment status under EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards, based on the 8-hr ozone standard. Lowering sulfur in gasoline results in fewer nitrogen oxides emissions.

When introduced next May, Koch's new gasoline is expected to eliminate about 4 tons/day of NOx, says Wade Thomas, executive director of the Central Texas Clean Air Force. That reduction will have the same effect as taking about 60,000 cars off Austin's streets.

Operating changes
Koch's low-sulfur initiative at the Corpus Christi refinery will involves two phases. Phase I will consist of a $28 million investment in the company's Corpus Christi refinery to produce a lower-sulfur gasoline, 50% less than today's industry average, by May 1, 2001.

This will involve conversion of an existing gas oil hydrotreater, now used to desulfurize diesel, to an FCC feed desulfurization unit. The hydrotreater is somewhat oversized, said a Koch official, and will have to be modified for the new service.

Phase II will focus on achieving the clean fuels regulatory requirements of 30 ppm, 90% less than today's average, by 2005. Koch will make an additional investment totaling $130-190 million to complete Phase II. This will involve adding new units and new technology, said the official.

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