Flint Hills Resources has announced plans to make
improvements to several processing units at its Pine Bend
refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota. The projects are expected to
improve reliability, reduce key emissions
and improve the refinery's ability to convert crude oil into
The proposed projects involve replacing three
less-efficient heaters with two new heaters, upgrading an
existing process heater and making improvements to the refinery's cooling towers. The new
and modified heaters will include best available control
equipment for nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions and use cleaner-burning
natural gas or fuel gas.
Since 1997, the Pine Bend refinery has lowered emissions of
traditional criteria pollutants by approximately 70%, while
increasing production to help meet demand for transportation
fuel. According to Flint Hills Resources, the refinery has
reduced total onsite emissions in 10 of the last 11 years, and
its emissions per barrel are currently 50% lower than the
industry average for large refineries.
The new equipment and process improvements will lead to more
efficient operations, allowing the refinery to operate closer to its
design capacity of 320,000 bpd while continuing to make
reductions in key emissions.
The new projects will result in a decrease
in NOX and sulfur dioxide emissions. The refinery is implementing best
available control technology to minimize other emissions.
The projects are subject to regulatory review and will
require permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The projects must also receive final approval from Flint Hills
Resources management. Construction of the projects is
expected to begin in 2014.
The projects, estimated to cost
approximately $400 million, are expected to create as many as
four million hours of new work, increasing the current
temporary contract workforce at Pine Bend from a daily average
of about 500 to more than 1,000 over at least the next five
years. Pine Bend currently employs more than 900 people
full-time and can have between 400 and 2,000 contract workers
onsite on any given day.