By LYNN DOAN
Chevron gained approval from city regulators to finish a $1
billion upgrade at its Northern California refinery
thats been planned for almost a decade, after agreeing
to spend $90 million on community programs.
The board said Chevron must meet several conditions imposed
by the citys planning commission while installing a new
hydrogen plant at its Richmond complex, including limits on
sulfur processing and emissions
. The worlds
third-largest energy company by market value agreed to spend
$90 million on city initiatives, including Internet access
for its neighbors and scholarships.
Chevron appealed to the council after the planning commission
attached its own conditions to the project, which will allow
to run a slate of
higher-sulfur crudes. The city and the company later agreed
to a modified set of requirements.
This week marked the second time that the plant has approved
by the council. The company gained permission for a larger project
in 2008 and was halfway
finished when a judge reversed the citys decision,
saying its environment
al assessment was
Were pleased with the City Councils
decision to approve the Modernization
Project so we can
get to work on making this refinery
newer, safer and cleaner
and putting 1,000 people back to work, Melissa Ritchie,
a Chevron spokeswoman at the refinery, said by e-mail.
The city approved permits for an environmentally
superior version of the project
that limits Chevron to
processing 750 long tpd of sulfur, down from the 900 the
company had requested. The panel also prohibited an increase
in greenhouse-gas emissions
and said the company
couldnt import oil by rail unless it applies for
additional permits from the city.
Groups including Communities for a Better Environment
in Oakland had said
the project would allow the refinery to run more carbon
-intensive crudes and
. Opposition increased
after a crude unit fire in August 2012, Californias
blaze in a decade.
Federal and state investigators have said the line that
ruptured, igniting the fire, appeared to have corroded after
being exposed to sulfur compounds at high temperatures.
The San Ramon, California-based company said in April that
the revamp may be finished as soon as mid-2016 should it
receive approval this month. The Richmond plant can process
245,271 bpd, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The complex already imports mostly light, high-sulfur crudes
from Saudi Arabia, according to government data. The company
has said it will keep buying oil from the Middle East after