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Refinery news from the Americas: 17 October 2014

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


According to a tribunal that oversees state spending in Brazil, Petrobras is being investigated for cost overruns. The company is expected to spend 60% more than budgeted on the Comperji complex which is expected to come online in 2016. The company is looking to invest, in total, US$ 21.6 billion in the project. The tribunal, TCU, has said that there are discrepancies between different government bodies as well as between Petrobras divisions when it comes to the investment levels originally proposed for the project. The tribunal has said that the company has been reckless and it is being investigated due to the sloppy manner in which this project has been executed.


Foster Wheeler’s global engineering and construction group has been given a contract by Pemex for work related to a USLD project at the Antonio Dovali Jaime refinery. The project at the refiner in Oaxaca is a joint venture with Arendal and will include a revamp of four diesel hydrodesulfurisation units, the installation of units for hydrogen production, sulfur recovery, and sour water stripping. Foster Wheeler has also reported that it will be carrying out extensive upgrades to utilities and offsite installations.


California Bay Area officials have said that they wish to cut oil refinery emissions by 20% in a bid to reduce air pollution in the region. The plan has been backed by environmentalists, however, industry leaders have said that the plans are radical and place illegal restrictions on oil facilities. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board has said that it wants a roadmap for these plans in place by the end of this year with new rules and procedures in place in 2015. The board has said that refineries that already have put in place the recommended emission reduction technologies and solutions but not achieved a 20% reduction will benefit from waivers.

A lawsuit has been settled between an environmental group in Bay Are and the regional air quality district. Earlier this year, Communities for a Better Environment sued the Bay Area Air Quality Management District over permits being granted for Chevron’s US$ 1 billion refinery upgrade. The group were seeking to have the permits revoked claiming that the modernisation of the plant would increase air pollution and that the required emissions prevention and environmental reviews had not taken place.

Also in California, a revised environmental report on a rail expansion project planned by Phillips 66 has been published by the San Luis Obispo County. The Rail Spur Extension Project is looking to trains with over 80 cars to a new crude unloading facility in Santa Maria. So far the extension has been opposed unanimously.

The Catlettsburg refinery owned by Marathon Petroleum Co., has donated US$ 108 000 to the United Way of Northeast Kentucky. UNWK is a branch of United Way that services Boyd Carter, Greenup, Elliott and Lawrence counties.

It has been suggested by experts that the Chevron owned refinery in West Ohau, Hawaii should be turned in to an import terminal. Chevron is currently seeking a buyer for the plant which is the smaller of the two refineries in Hawaii. The expert has said that Hawaii is a one refinery state and does not have the capacity to support two.

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd

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