The latest settlement will pay for future inspections and enforcement of environmental regulations, the air quality district said.
“Ensuring that we all have clean air to breathe is the Air District’s top priority,” Jack Broadbent, the district’s executive officer, said in a written a statement. “This settlement is one way we hold Shell Oil accountable for its violations of air quality regulations and continue to safeguard clean air for all Bay Area residents.”
The refinery’s former management was found to have improperly monitored the facility’s flare pilots, which burn gas at low amounts to keep the flare system running correctly.
Once the pilots were extinguished, the refinery began emitting excess amounts of harmful pollutants, including hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, according to the air quality district.
The refinery was also flagged for not correctly sealing its storage tanks, as well as for failing to report violations and keep records up to date.
All the infractions have since been corrected, the air quality district said. An analysis earlier this year by district staff estimated that PBF’s emissions were responsible for six premature deaths each year.
PBF Energy, which acquired the Martinez refinery from Shell, warned earlier this year that the costs of cutting emissions by 70% — as required by the air quality district — will force it to shut down the refinery. Chevron, which owns a refinery in Richmond, also pushed back against the mandate.
Meanwhile, the Marathon-owned Golden Eagle Refinery in Martinez is no longer in operation. According to Marathon, the refinery is being transitioned into a facility that will produce fuels that emit less carbon than petroleum diesel.
PBF Energy Inc. announced today that it completed the acquisition of the Martinez refinery, and related logistics assets, from Shell Oil Products US. The purchase price for the assets was $960.0 million plus the value of hydrocarbon inventory. The company will operate as ‘Martinez Refining Company’.
“We welcome Martinez’s professional workforce to the PBF family,” said PBF’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Nimbley. “We are committed to maintaining the high operational standards of the refinery and, through continued safe, reliable and environmentally responsible operations, earning the privilege of being a respected member of the Martinez and Contra Costa County communities.” Mr. Nimbley continued, “The acquisition of Martinez is a significant strategic step for PBF as we expand our West Coast operations. Martinez is a top-tier asset, is a perfect complement to our existing assets and provides increased opportunities for PBF’s West Coast operations to deliver value.”
The 157,000 barrel-per-day, dual-coking Martinez refinery is located on an 860-acre site in the City of Martinez, 30 miles northeast of San Francisco, California. The refinery is a high-conversion facility with a Nelson Complexity Index of 16.1, making it one of the most complex refineries in the United States. The facility includes a number of high-quality onsite logistics assets including a deep-water marine facility, product distribution terminals and refinery crude and product storage facilities with approximately 8.8 million barrels of shell capacity.
We are pleased to announce the next chapter in our refinery’s storied, 105-year history. Effective February 1, we usher in a new era as “Martinez Refining Company,” featuring the new logo, below.
Martinez Refining Company LLC (Martinez Refinery) is a subsidiary of PBF Energy Inc. (PBF), a publicly-traded (NYSE-PBF) Fortune 250 company that concentrates on refining and logistics. Martinez is the sixth refinery in PBF’s portfolio; the others are in New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Louisiana, and Southern California.
We are also introducing and welcoming our new Refinery Manager, Jerry Forstell. This is a homecoming for Jerry, who worked at Martinez from 1992-2003, then returned frequently as General Manager of Turnarounds and Projects. In total, Jerry has 35 years in the refining and chemicals industries, 31 of those with Shell.
After retiring from Shell in 2015, Jerry joined PBF Energy as Chalmette Refinery Manager in St. Bernard Parish, LA near New Orleans. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Jerry and his wife, Corinne, have three grown children spread throughout the country.
“I am truly thrilled to be back at Martinez with so many of my former colleagues, while looking forward to getting to know the rest of the workforce and our neighbors,” Jerry says. “I deeply respect our rich history and value our commitment to our community. I especially look forward to leading the refinery through the coming transition while maintaining the outstanding legacy and traditions that Shell established over the past 105 years.
PBF offered jobs to all eligible refinery employees, and encourages continuing development of our professional well-trained and qualified workforce. We remain dedicated to being a valued member of our community through open, honest, and timely communication, while supporting the local economy with jobs and purchases of services and supplies.
Our Martinez Refinery Family has seen a lot of change, but there are certain constants: our priorities remain “People, Planet, Performance,” and our safety mission, which we call “Goal Zero”, continues as our guiding force. Together, these programs keep us focused on working safely and operating reliably and in an environmentally responsible manner, which in turn helps us earn the right to operate in the communities that host us. This commitment to our community is another constant. We want to share with you some highlights from the past year…as we look forward to 2020.
We had a very successful “Run for Education” in 2019, which PBF also supported. Our team of volunteers are already preparing for our refinery’s signature event the, “MRC/MEF Run for Education” to be held September 27. Since 2003 our run has raised $916,000 for the Martinez Education Foundation, so we are excited to “Run to a Million” in this year’s event. We hope you’ll join us for our Family Fun Night on September 26. The Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs always host an enjoyable evening at the Clubhouse.
We congratulate 2019 Alhambra High School graduate, Jessica McCauley, who earned the Shell Martinez Refinery STEM Scholarship in May. We are also honored to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martinez in establishing a “Teen Center.” Our Martinez youth prove the future is brighter with their talents.
You may have seen our Refinery Fire Department personnel at various community events this year, including the “4th of July Hometown Parade,” “National Night Out,” and the “Holiday Frolic and Tree Lighting.” We also hope you saw the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s Holiday Food Drive donation barrels. In a span of three days, more than 30 refinery employees wrapped all the food barrels that were distributed throughout Contra Costa and Solano Counties.
And finally, “Save Mount Diablo” has published its list of free, public, guided hikes sponsored by the refinery, and all the information is on their website.
Our new owner has pledged to continue our strong commitment to you, our refinery, and our community. We invite you to contact us anytime you have a question or concern. Our weekday phone number is still (925) 313-3777. Our after-hours number remains (925) 313-3601.
Our employees live, work, and play in Martinez, and we treasure our relationship with our community neighbors. We are grateful for your support of the Martinez Refinery and as always, look forward to hearing from you.
External Relations Manager – Martinez Refinery
Shell to quit U.S. refining lobby over climate disagreement
By Ron Bousso, APRIL 2, 2019 / 2:36 AM
LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday became the first major oil and gas company to announce plans to leave a leading U.S. refining lobby due to disagreement on climate policies.
In its first review of its association with 19 key industry groups, the company said it had found “material misalignment” over climate policy with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and would quit the body in 2020.
The review is part of Shell’s drive to increase transparency and show investors it is in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement’s goals to limit global warming by reducing carbon emissions to a net zero by the end of the century.
It is also the latest sign of how investor pressure on oil companies is leading to changes in their behavior around climate.
“AFPM has not stated support for the goal of the Paris Agreement. Shell supports the goal of the Paris Agreement,” the Anglo-Dutch company said in its decision.
Shell said it also disagreed with AFPM’s opposition to a price on carbon and action on low-carbon technologies.
AFPM Chief Executive Chet Thompson thanked Shell for its “longstanding collaboration”.
“Like any family, we aren’t always fully aligned on every policy, but we always strive to reach consensus positions on policies,” Thompson said in a statement.
“We will also continue working on behalf of the refining and petrochemical industries to advance policies that ensure reliable and affordable access to fuels and petrochemicals, while being responsible stewards of the environment.”
AFPM counts around 300 U.S. and international members including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and Total that operate 110 refineries and 229 petrochemical plants, according to its 2018 annual report.
Shell’s review was welcomed by Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board, which invests in Shell and led discussions with the company over its climate policy.
“This is an industry first,” Matthews said.
“With this review Shell have set the benchmark for best practice on corporate climate lobbying not just within oil and gas but across all industries. The challenge now is for others to follow suit.”
Shell and AFPM have also been at odds in recent months over regulation over the use of renewable fuels.
While Shell and other large refiners have invested in the cleaner fuel technology, AFPM has fought hard against the Renewable Fuel Standard from which some independent refiners could lose out.
Shell and rivals Exxon and BP have in recent years also left the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative political group, over its stance on climate change.
Shell also found “some” misalignment with nine other trade associations, including the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s main lobby.
Shell said that while it had some climate-related differences with API, it welcomed the lobby’s advocacy on a range of state and federal issues such as trade and transport, as well as the API’s efforts to reduce methane emissions.
It will continue to engage with the API and other groups over climate policies and monitor their alignment, Shell said.
Last year, Shell caved in to investor pressure over climate change, setting out plans to introduce industry-leading carbon emissions targets linked to executive pay.
Its chief executive, Ben van Beurden, has since repeatedly urged oil and gas producers to take action over climate and pollution.
“The need for urgent action in response to climate change has become ever more obvious since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. As a result, society’s expectations in this area have changed, and Shell’s views have also evolved,” van Beurden said in the report.
“We must be prepared to openly voice our concerns where we find misalignment with an industry association on climate-related policy. In cases of material misalignment, we should also be prepared to walk away.”
Shell last month urged President Donald Trump’s administration to tighten restrictions on emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, instead of weakening them as planned.
Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Dale Hudson/ Louise Heavens and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
Derailment in Martinez: the nightmare no one wants
By Roger Straw, The Benicia Independent – 05/01/2018
Early this morning, at least two tank cars carrying liquid petroleum gas (LPG) derailed while backing into the Shell Refinery in Martinez, CA. (See brief KTVU News coverage.)
Thank our lucky stars that those tank cars backing into the refinery did not tip over or leak! Had they done so, and a spark ignited a fire, the accident might’ve resulted in a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or “BLEVE” (blɛviː/ BLEV-ee).
Sharon Kelly described a BLEVE this way on DeSmogBlog: “As liquids in a metal tank boil, gasses build up, pressurizing the tank even despite relief valves designed to vent fumes. Tanks finally explode, throwing shrapnel great distances, and spitting out burning liquids that can start secondary blazes.”
BLEVEs were responsible for the massive degree of destruction and loss of life in Lac Magantic, Canada. If those Martinez tank cars had caught fire and erupted, the whole Shell Refinery might’ve blown up! Downtown Martinez, the AMTRAK station, and the 680 freeway might’ve been threatened.
Photos of the derailed cars show the 4-digit Hazardous Material Identification Placard: 1075. The Emergency Response Guidebook, published by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration identifies the code for 1075 on p. 31 as one of the following flammable materials:
In fires involving Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG) (UN1075); Butane, (UN1011); Butylene, (UN1012); Isobutylene, (UN1055); Propylene, (UN1077); Isobutane, (UN1969); and Propane, (UN1978), also refer to BLEVE – SAFETY PRECAUTIONS (Page 368).
BLEVE is defined : “A boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE, /ˈblɛviː/ BLEV-ee) is an explosion caused by the rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid that has reached temperatures above its boiling point.”
Page 368-369 of the Emergency Response Guidebook reads as follows:
BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion)
The following section presents, in a two-page format, background information on BLEVEs and includes a chart that provides important safety-related information to consider when confronted with this type of situation involving Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG), UN1075. LPGs include the following flammable gases: Butane, UN1011; Butylene, UN1012; Isobutylene, UN1055; Propylene, UN1077; Isobutane, UN1969; and Propane, UN1978.
What are the main hazards from a BLEVE?
The main hazards from a propane or LPG BLEVE are:
– thermal radiation from the fire
The danger from these decreases as you move away from the BLEVE centre. The furthest reaching hazard is projectiles.