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Refinery switches from coal to natural gas

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Baard Energy, a Vancouver energy development company, has submitted proposals to build a US$ 3.5 billion refinery in Columbiana County, Ohio, to manufacture jet and diesel fuel from natural gas.

The refinery would require approximately 200 acres and would use 450 000 ft3 of pipeline natural gas per day, initially, switching to Ohio shale gas as it becomes available.

Geological experts believe there are billions of cubic feet of natural gas deep under Ohio, and early test wells have been impressive enough attract big oil and gas companies such as ExxonMobil, Hess Corp. and Shell Oil.

Baard's Ohio River Clean Fuels refinery would convert the gas into 50 000 bpd of jet and diesel fuel. Four years ago, Baard had initially proposed building a refinery that would have made the jet and diesel fuel from Ohio coal, which is among the most dirty in the nation. The coal refinery would have cost US$ 6.9 billion and would have required about 450 acres.

The company obtained air and water permits from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corp of Engineers and had the attention of the Pentagon, but legal opposition from environmental groups concerned about mercury and other pollutants stalled development until last week.

On Friday, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club agreed to suspend further legal action if Baard switched to natural gas, which is not only cleaner than coal but also would cut the refinery's carbon dioxide emissions by 75%.

Construction is expected to begin in 2012.

Elsewhere in the US:


Flaring was reported at Valero's Wilmington refinery on 14 October, but a spokesman stated that the problem caused by a problem in the sulfur recovery unit but was having no material impact on production.

North Dakota

Tesoro Petroleum Corp have said that gasoline was blended improperly at their 60 000 bpd Mandan refinery, prompting complaints from drivers. The statement noted that the situation was related to off spec fuel, the company would not comment on how much fuel was improperly made, how it happened or how many retailers and drivers were affected.


Sunoco Inc. has reportedly started a fluid catalytic cracker at its Marcus Hook refinery. The unit is said to be up and running after Sunoco shut part of the unit for maintenance that was expected to last about four days.


Delek U.S. Holdings reported unplanned maintenance on a boiler at its 60 000 bpd refinery in Tyler on October 17. The event led to emissions, according to a notice filed with state pollution regulators. Non-routine repairs on the boiler No. 9 will be conducted between Oct. 17 – 21.

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