Marathon limits flaring
The US Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and the Department of Justice recently announced an
agreement with Marathon Petroleum Co. that has already reduced
air pollution from all six of the companys refineries. In
a first for the refining industry, Marathon has
agreed to controls on flares and to a cap on the volume of
waste gas it will send to its flares. When fully implemented,
the agreement is expected to reduce air pollution by
approximately 5,400 tpy.
A recently filed consent decree
resolves Marathons alleged violations of the Clean Air
Act. As part of the effort to reach this agreement, Marathon
spent more than $2.4 million to develop and conduct pioneering
combustion efficiency testing of flares.
In addition, beginning in 2009,
Marathon installed equipment, such as flow monitors and gas
chromatographs, to improve the combustion efficiency of its
flares. To date, Marathon has spent approximately $45 million
on this equipment and projects, and plans to spend an
additional $6.5 million. Marathon also will spend an as-yet
undetermined sum to comply with the flaring caps required in
the consent decree.
At the same time, Marathon
indicates that the equipment it already has installed is saving
it approximately $5 million per year through reduced steam
usage and product recovery.
From 2008 to the end of 2011, the
controls Marathon installed eliminated approximately 4,720 tpy
of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and 110 tpy of hazardous
air pollutants (HAPs). An additional 530 tpy of VOCs and 30 tpy
of HAPs are projected to be eliminated in the
future. Under the agreement, Marathon will also implement a project at its Detroit, Michigan, refinery to remove another 15 tpy of
VOCs and another 1 tpy of benzene from the air. At an estimated
cost of $2.2 million, Marathon will install controls on
numerous sludge handling tanks and equipment.
Marathon will pay a civil penalty
of $460,000. HP
The American Petroleum
Institute (API) and American Fuel and
Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)
trade groups are critical of the US EPAs recent decision
to approve higher levels of ethanol in gasoline (E15) before
testing is complete, alleging that it could put consumers at
risk. The groups said the EPA decision comes before the
completion of thorough testing by the automobile and oil
industries to ensure the safety and performance of the new fuel
for vehicles. According to the API, testing results so far have
revealed problems with E15 and that engine damage from its use
may not be covered under vehicle manufacturer warranties. In
March, the EPA approved the first applications to make E15, a
50% increase from the E10 blend allowed at present.
Technip has signed a
cooperation agreement in the green chemistry business
with Compagnie Industrielle de la Matière
Végétale (CIMV). The two companies have been
working together for the past five years, during which Technip
provided CIMV with technological expertise in the fields of
engineering and construction, enabling CIMV to pass
from the pilot unit stage to the industrial unit stage. During
this period, a CIMV process has been identified as a disruptive
technology in the field of green
chemistry. This technology is among the only ones in
the market capable of converting solid biomass into
hydrocarbons that can be used as a feedstock by the petrochemical industry. The CIMV technology can thus be seen as a key
enabler for the sustainable green chemistry sector based on
nonedible feedstock, Technip officials said.
In conjunction with the technical collaboration, Technip has
established a sales force to promote the CIMV process outside
of France, along with the wide range of bio-sourced
applications it offers industrial companies.
Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) petrochemical companies fourth quarter
2011 earnings declined by 11.9% year-on-year to $732.2 million,
compared to $831.6 million in the same period in 2010. This is
according to a recent report from Global Investment House.
Performances for petrochemical companies overall were marred by
lower pricing in global markets. On a country level, the UAE
stood out with major profitability growth, followed by Qatar.
On the other end of the spectrum, net earnings in the Saudi
Arabia and Oman petrochemical sectors dropped by over 16% each.
Overall, performances of regional petrochemical companies were
mixed. The leading contributor to the sectors
profitability was Saudi Basic Industries Corp. Other GCC petrochemical companies in the black
for this time period included Industries Qatar and Safco.
Companies reporting substantial losses were Saudi Kayan and
announced sale of its Canadian natural gas liquids
business to Plains Midstream Canada has been completed. The
sale, which also included BPs liquefied petroleum gas
business in Canada, was made for $1.67 billion in cash. As of
April 1, BPs remaining business in Canadaincluding
the integrated supply and trading business, the oil sands and
existing Arctic discovery licenseswill be under BP Canada
Energy Group, the company said.
W. R. Grace & Co. has entered into an agreement
with Dow Chemical to develop new catalysts for
polypropylene production. The catalysts, which use one of
Dows non-phthalate internal donor technologies and Grace
proprietary catalyst expertise, will be sold by Grace. These
catalysts will help producers make resins to improve the
performance of plastics, including better clarity, stiffness
and impact strength. Customers can use the resins in a broad
range of applications such as films, high-performance pipe,
automobile parts, household appliances and household
containers. Grace expects to begin commercial production of the
new catalysts later this year. HP