BP Files for Stricter Whiting Refinery Air Permit
BP America Inc. today has submitted a permit application to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in which the company is proposing to lower air emissions limits for the company’s Whiting Refinery after completion of a $3.8 billion modernization that will equip the refinery to process more Canadian heavy crude oil and increase motor fuel production by about 1.7 million gallons a day.
“Canadian heavy oil is critical to America’s future energy security and the need for additional motor fuels,” said Whiting Refinery Manager Dan Sajkowski. “BP is committed to finding ways to achieve the important objectives of US energy security, increased gasoline supply, economic development and environmental stewardship.”
Under the permit application submitted to IDEM, regulated air emissions at the refinery will be held to more stringent limits than the refinery is currently allowed. The application proposes individual limits on almost all air emissions sources including those not currently subject to emission limitations. In addition to the modernization project, the permit application also accounts for all expected changes in emissions at the refinery from ongoing upgrades and maintenance through 2011.
The proposed stricter air permit limits follow a five-year trend of measurable decreases in air emissions from the Whiting Refinery. Criteria pollutants in 2006 were 68 percent lower than those in 2001 and these emissions will decrease an additional seven percent by 2011.
Although emissions of some individual components like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter are expected to increase when the project is completed in 2011, they will remain below currently authorized limits.
More than $1.4 billion of the $3.8 billion refinery modernization program is allocated for environmental improvements. To reduce air emissions, BP is replacing existing equipment with more modern technology and installing emission controls on new and existing units
These controls include technology to produce lower sulfur fuels, specialized burners and controls to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from heaters and boilers, sealing sources of particulate and volatile organic compound emissions and improved automated controls that optimize process units for lower emissions.
To meet the emissions reductions requirements proposed in the permit application, BP will also apply credits earned from pollution-reducing investments made at the refinery during the past few years. For example, reconfiguring oil-burning boilers and heaters to burn lower sulfur fuel gas generated emissions credits that can be applied to the refinery’s air permit.
IDEM and US EPA allow the use of credits to encourage ongoing investment in emissions controls at industrial facilities. As a result, the modernization project will achieve net decreases in emissions of major criteria pollutants while producing more motor fuels.
“This air permit application meets or exceeds IDEM and US EPA regulations and results in an overall reduction in air emissions at the same time that we are processing a heavier grade of oil and producing more motor fuel,” Sajkowski said. “Our goal is to protect the environment and bring another 620 million gallons of gasoline to the US Midwest every year that’s processed from a secure source of North American oil.”
The BP air permit application was submitted to IDEM’s office in Indianapolis and will undergo a comprehensive technical regulatory review and public comment period. A copy of the air permit application will be filed at the Whiting Public Library. In addition to the regulatory process, BP is continuing communications with various stakeholders to provide information on the refinery modernization project. More information on the air permit application and the Whiting refinery can be found at http://whiting.bp.com.
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