Key highlights from the long awaited draft environmental impact report on Chevron's proposed $1 billion modernization of its Richmond refinery.
-- "The Modernization Project was designed to achieve three overarching goals: Enhance the safety and reliability of the facility through installation of newer,
inherently safer systems and equipment consistent with the Richmond Industrial Safety Ordinance; enhance the facility's processing flexibility to continue to produce the full range of facility products; and achieve no net increase in criteria air pollutants, greenhouse gases and public health risks from air pollution."
-- Key elements of the project include: "Enhance the facility's flexibility to process crude oil blends and externally sourced gas oils containing higher levels of sulfur than those currently being processed, enabling Chevron to continue producing transportation fuels and lubricant base oils in compliance with low-sulfur state and federal standards ... Ensure that there is no net increase in emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria air pollutants compared to the baseline period, through a combination of: replacing some existing equipment with new modernization project components that are more energy-efficient and lower-emitting; installing emissions reduction project design features in the modernization project; and implementing specific, feasible mitigation measures as described in this EIR.
-- "The modernization project is also designed to increase the facility's flexibility to process crude oil blends and gas oil feedstocks with higher sulfur contents while continuing to manufacture the full range of facility products (i.e., gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and lubricant base oils). It would do this primarily by: (1) Increasing the physical capacity or mechanical capacity of certain facility components; and (2) increasing certain regulatory permit limits that currently restrict the production capacity of various facility components. ... It is important to note, however, that the facility's crude unit (the process unit into which unprocessed crude oil blends are first pumped at the start of the refining process) has a permit capacity limit of 257,200 barrels per day and the modernization project would not increase this throughput limitation. Thus, if the modernization project is approved, the maximum daily amount of crude oil processed at the facility would not be increased."
-- "Oxygen enrichment facilities would be added to the facility's sulfur-recovery units to increase their physical capacity from 600 long tons per day to 900 long
tons per day. While these physical improvements would not change the facility's crude oil throughput capacity, they would enable the facility to process crude oil blends and gas oils with higher sulfur contents on a sustained basis, thus providing greater flexibility to process crude and gas oils from the wider global
market while continuing to manufacture the full range of facility products (i.e., gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and lubricant base oils)."
-- "The permit limit for the facility's sulfur recovery units would increase from 600 to 900 long tons per day. The permit limit for the facility's FCC FHT would increase from 65,000 barrels per day to 80,000 barrels per day of gas oil."
-- "It is reasonably foreseeable that some post-project crude oil blends processed at the facility may be somewhat heavier than those processed by the facility during the baseline period. The modernization project would provide the facility flexibility to process higher sulfur crude blends, and depending on the source of the crude, increases in sulfur concentrations can have a correlation to increases in API gravity."
-- "While the modernization project would result in increased capacity to produce hydrogen, remove sulfur and process gas oil, it would do so with no net increase above baseline period emission levels of CAPs, greenhouse gases and public health risks in residential areas from TACs. This would be achieved through implementation of the emission reduction project components, project design features and mitigation measures identified in this EIR."
-- "The Hydrogen Plant Replacement's higher-purity stream would be more efficient in carrying out the chemical reactions central to the refining process and, compared to the existing hydrogen plant, the newer pressure swing absorption technology would use about 20 percent less fuel to produce the same amount of hydrogen. Moreover, the Hydrogen Plant Replacement would capture more hydrogen to be reused in the refining process."
-- "The facility stores elemental sulfur produced at the sulfur recovery units in existing sulfur-storage tanks. The liquid sulfur is pumped from the storage tanks
to a tank truck-loading rack. Chevron is seeking a separate permit from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to replace-in-kind the facility's liquid sulfur truck loading rack and related equipment."
-- "Chevron would participate in Marin Clean Energy for Chevron facilities located or co-located at the facility. Marin Clean Energy is a community choice aggregator under California law that provides lower-carbon dioxide source electricity to area residents and business within its service area."
-- "The market demand for transportation fuels is not expected to decrease in the future. Indeed, the use of liquid fuels for transportation increases annually by an average of 1.1 percent. If the modernization project were not implemented, then, to satisfy market demand, the processing of higher-sulfur crude blends would remain with other refineries or potentially move to new refineries that can handle higher-sulfur crude blends. The upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions would be generated irrespective of project approval and thus are not fairly attributed to the project."
-- "The modernization project would not result in any significant adverse direct, indirect or cumulative air quality impacts. During construction, the modernization project would result in potentially significant, adverse, localized construction dust-related air quality impacts and short-term emissions of ozone
precursors (i.e., nitrogen oxides (NOx) and reactive organic gases), but all such impacts would be mitigated to less-than-significant levels by implementing BAAQMD-recommended basic dust-control measures and other recommended mitigation measures."