Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cost Effective Alternative Would Be Welcomed

The flaring event Wednesday August 4th at the Meraux plant was attributed to shutting down two units in order to changeout catalyst, an operation which is expected to take two weeks.(Reuters Report by Erwin Seba)    Some speculate Murphy's operation may include other maintenance to the units, perhaps replacing corroded pipes, given the highly corrosive property of the liquid catalyst used at the refinery. Residents remain concerned about possible leaks and the dangerous vapors which would go into the community.

Murphy Oil's domestic refineries are two of 51 U.S. oil refineries which are still using the deadly catalyst hydrofluoric acid or HF. (Neil Carman, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, Page 55)

""Fortunately, hydrofluoric acid is not the only material oil refineries can use in their refining processes. Many other refineries already use sulfuric acid, a safer alternative, in the alkylation process. This cost-effective and widely-used alternative diminishes the appeal of refineries as a terrorist target and mitigates the public health and safety consequences of an accident. In addition, a new technology, solid acid catalysts, will soon be available for widespread commercial use, offering an even safer option than the use of sulfuric acid.""
Needless Risk: Oil Refineries and Hazard Reduction

St Bernard Parish residents would welcome the use of a safer option in the alkylation process, one which would mitigate health and safety risks inherent to the highly corrosive catalyst.

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