Hess resolves pollution dispute
Hess Corp. has agreed to pay an $850,000 civil penalty and to spend more than $45 million in new pollution controls to resolve Clean Air Act violations at its refinery in Port Reading, New Jersey, according to officials with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Justice. The refinery has a processing capacity of 70,000 bpd.
Once fully implemented, the controls required by the settlement are estimated to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 181 tpy and result in additional reductions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). High concentrations of NOx and VOCs, key pollutants emitted from refineries, can have adverse impacts on human health, the EPA said.
This settlement is the 31st such agreement with petroleum refineries across the nation. Hess joins a growing list of corporations who have entered into comprehensive and innovative agreements with the United States that will result in cleaner, healthier air for communities across the nation, said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division of the Department of Justice.
The settlement requires new and upgraded pollution controls; more stringent emission limits; and aggressive monitoring, leak-detection and repair practices to reduce emissions from refinery equipment and processing.
The governments complaint, filed on April 19, 2012, alleged that the company made modifications to its refinery that increased emissions without first obtaining pre-construction permits and installing required pollution control equipment.
The Clean Air Act requires major sources of air pollution to obtain such permits before making changes that would result in a significant emissions increase of any pollutant.
The state of New Jersey participated in the settlement with Hess and will receive half of the civil penalty.
The settlement is another example of improved compliance among refiners.
Honeywells UOP has been selected to provide key production technology to produce propylene via propane dehydrogenation in China. Zhangjiagang Yangzi River Petrochemical Co. will use UOPs process technology to convert propane to propylene, which is used in the production of materials such as films and packaging. The project is the ninth propylene project Honeywells UOP has announced since the beginning of 2011, helping to meet growing demand globally, the company says. The new unit, expected to start up in 2014, will produce 600,000 tpy of propylene at the facility in Zhangjiagang City, Jiangsu Province, China. The process uses catalytic dehydrogenation to convert propane to propylene.
Axens received a top annual safety award in the category of responsible care from the Union of the French Chemical Industries (UIC) for its Salindres plant in Frances Gard region. The Salindres plant is its main catalyst and adsorbent production site in France. The 20112012 National Safety Award recognizes the overall approach adopted at the Salindres plant to improve the safety of employees and the local community, as well as the safety of facilities and products, according to the UIC group. Axens initiatives involved hiring a theater troupe from the Théâtre du Cratère dAlès to educate employees about occupational safety on the site, the company said. In October 2011, the plant had already received the Mediterranean Responsible Care Award from the Languedoc-Roussillon and PACA-Corse UICs, which recognizes efforts to improve health, safety and environmental protection.
Canada-based Methanex has entered into a long-term offtake agreement with Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) for a significant portion of the production from the OCI methanol plant in Beaumont, Texas. The plant, which had been idled prior to its purchase by OCI, will commence commercial methanol production this month. OCI has said that the Beaumont plant will produce 750,000 tpy of methanol. The plant also has a capacity of 250,000 tpy of ammonia, which OCI began producing in December 2011.
Siemens automation division was recently awarded a five-year deal from Shell to deliver process gas chromatographs through an enterprise framework agreement that covers Shell companies, subsidiaries and joint ventures across the globe. During the term of the agreement, Siemens will supply gas chromatographs together with related systems such as analysis cabinets and shelters, much of which will be manufactured by Siemens in the US, the company said. Additionally, Siemens will provide front-end engineering and after-sales servicing.
UK-based BG Group has agreed to sell its 40% equity interest in the GNL Quintero (GNLQ) liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to Spain-based Enagas. The deal, worth up to $352 million, is expected to close by the end of 2012. The agreements reached apply to BG Groups shareholding in GNLQthe owner and operator of the 2.5 million tpy regasification terminal in Quintero, Chile. The deal does not impact BGs 21-year contract to supply up to 1.7 million tpy of LNG to the Chilean market out to 2030, the company said.
The Veracruz ethylene and polyethylene (PE) complex in Mexico, a joint venture between Brazils Braskem and Mexicos Grupo Idesa, will use hyper-compressor and booster-compressor technologies from GE. The compressors feature technologies that use less electricity, reduce operating costs and require less maintenance, making the local plant more competitive with imported plastics, GE said. GEs LDPE compressors feature a scalable design that enables upgrade and capacity additions with little effect on day-to-day operations. Construction on the Ethylene XXI project will begin later this year. HP