Thursday, September 18, 2014

EPA regs for oil refiners

Comment on EPA proposed refinery rules

  • In general, refiners are still in the mode of resisting new government regulatory initiatives and are not acknowledging that reducing pollution is not only good for the environment, but also has an economic return. It is not sufficient to just address current operations in order to establish effective emissions reduction programs. Improvements must begin at the plant design stage in order to eliminate or minimize flaring by integrating flare gas recovery systems, design for smooth start-up and shutdown of process units without flaring, and designing coking units with completely enclosed coke handling systems, to mention a few important areas. Procedural changes and new technology must also extend to plant maintenance. For example, improved monitoring and repair of the seals on floating-roof tanks is essential, as is the use of modern infrared sensors for detecting leaks at valves, pumps and flanges.

Robert Levy                                                       

Chemical engineer, Board of Directors of Air Alliance Houston

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Letter to all CEO's of Louisiana Petroleum Refineries

August 29, 2014 Letter from Pete's Articles to CEO's of all oil refineries in Louisiana



I am writing to each of the major gasoline producing refinery CEO’s which have crude oil refining facilities in Louisiana to plead with you to help us with more availability of conventional, non ethanol gasoline in Louisiana.

Approximately three years ago, there were five (5) refineries in Louisiana that manufactured and sold non ethanol gasoline to service stations through the State’s 64 Parishes.  These were Murphy Oil Refinery in Chalmette, Chalmette Refining in Chalmette, Marathon Oil Company in Garyville, Placid Oil Company in Port Allen and ConocoPhillips Oil Refinery in Westlake.  These refineries provided an ample volume of non ethanol gas to meet consumer’s needs throughout Louisiana.  HOWEVER, since that time, Valero purchased Murphy Oil in Chalmette and now manufacture only ethanol fuels at that facility, Chalmette Refining discontinued the manufacture and sale of non ethanol gas from their refinery in early June and lastly, Marathon Oil discontinued the manufacture and sale of non ethanol gas from their Garyville refinery in mid 2012.   READ MORE

As you know, south Louisiana is highly susceptible to hurricanes.  In 2012, Hurricane Isaac hit south Louisiana and flooded over 6,000 homes in St. John Parish where I live.  Two weeks before the hurricane’s path was realized, I took my garden tiller out of storage to till a few rows in my small home vegetable garden to prepare for planting my fall crops.  When I pulled the recoil to start the engine, the recoil rope broke. I took the tiller to a small engine repair shop near my home. When I entered the shop yard, I counted over 50 gas powered home generators in his yard awaiting repairs.  The shop owner told me that customers began flooding him with request to repair their generators when the path of the hurricane became known since their generators would NOT start.  The last time they used them in the last power outage with ethanol gasoline and they would now NOT start.  He had to hire extra workers (in addition to his normal staff of four) to take the carburetors apart and clean and re-assemble them as quickly as possible so the customers would have the generators available when power was lost from this hurricane.  And, this was just ONE repair shop. This is just another example of the problems we experience in Louisiana, particularly in south Louisiana when conventional, non ethanol gasoline is not readily available.

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