Flint Hills plans Corpus refinery upgrade in Texas

Flint Hills Resources is considering spending more than $250 million to upgrade its West refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, to process more Eagle Ford crude oil while extending its ability to reduce criteria air emissions, company officials said Thursday.

“For the past three years we have watched Eagle Ford crude production grow while processing as much as possible with our current configuration and under our permits,” said Phil Gaarder, vice president and refining manager.

“We think Corpus Christi is the most advantaged location to process this supply and the time is here to evaluate projects to process more of the crude into fuels for Texas markets.”

Flint Hills Resources operates two Corpus Christi refineries: the West Refinery, with a capacity of about 230,000 bpd, and the East Refinery, with a capacity of about 70,000 bpd.

“To be able to process more Texas crude, we need new processing capabilities - and we can do that with a net decrease in refinery emissions of traditional criteria air pollutants,” Gaarder said.

“With the use of state-of-the-art pollution controls that reduce emissions beyond what is required by regulatory agencies, we have identified ways we can continue to decrease emissions,” he continued.

“If we receive the final go-ahead and appropriate permits the site will see construction activity for about two years, with as many as 1,000 additional workers on site on many days.”

Flint Hills is also establishing a project-specific, near-neighbor panel.

“We hope the panel will be an additional vehicle for answering community questions,” Gaarder said. “We are committed to listening to and working with our near neighbors and expect this committee to review the permit, seek answers to questions, and continue to meet during the permit process.”

Flint Hills expects to submit the permit applications to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the US Environmental Protection Agency in the coming weeks, it said.

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