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Refining news from the Americas: 13 October 2014

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


On the weekend there was a crude oil spill at the Valero owned Levis refinery. It was originally reported that 15 000 ltrs of crude were spilled, however, it is now thought that the figure was much lower. The leak was made known by a spot of oil near a reservoir in the Chaudiere-Appalaches region. All safety and environmental measures have been take and an investigation is now underway to determine the cause of the spill.

Over the weekend people were evacuated from the Port Lands area due to a fire at an oil refinery owned by Quantex Technologies. The evacuation was carried out due to fears that toxic and harmful chemicals had caught fire. Hazmat teams were summoned to the site but eventually the fumes from the fire were not deemed hazardous.


Environmentalists have filed a law suit alleging that Kern County officials have not fully considered the impacts on air quality and safety with regards to the expansion of an oil by rail terminal. Environmentalists failed to block the expansion plan last month and the suit targets the environmental review plans surrounding the project. Alon USA Energy Inc. is seeking to modify its 70 000 bpd refinery to incorporate an five times bigger offloading facility.

A new emergency response system has been installed at the Silver Eagle Davis refinery. The system has been installed following an incident in May which resulted in fumes being released that were linked to a storage tank at the plant. The company were fined US$ 10 000 by the Davis County Health Department and agreed to six stipulations to resolve the matter. The latest emergency response solution is a notification system to warn those in the surrounding area of any dangers.

It has been reported, that Lazard Ltd has asked those interested in buying refineries from Citgo Petroleum Corp submit another round of offers. Lazard was appointed by PDVSA to handle the sale of all its US based Citgo assets and several companies are reportedly showing interest in the purchase, including HollyFrontier Corp, Valero Energy Corp, Western Refining Inc., Reliance Industries Ltd and PBF energy inc, according to reports.

The BP Cheery Point refinery in Washington has said that it will not accept any crude from North Dakota unless it arrives in tank cars from post 2011. The facility stopped using pres 2011 standard tank cars in the first week of October for shipments of volatile crude from North Dakota. This decision was made following much public concern about shipping crude by rail.


It has been confirmed by a World Bank arbitration tribunal that Venezuela must pay ExxonMobil back US$ 1.6 billion for assets that it stole from the company in 2007. This is the second ruling against the country, as in 2012, a similar panel said ExxonMobil was to be paid US$ 900 million for an expropriated state in a heavy oil project in the Orinoco basin. The rulings are all due to President Hugo Chavez ordering foreign oil companies to cede majority control of all projects in the country to PDVSA, a rule that ExxonMobil refused to comply with. Across many different industries there are reportedly at least 20 other cases against Venezuela for similar actions.

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd

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