Tag Archives: Stop Crude by Rail

List of refineries that have been shut down, saved or sold in past 5 years

Repost from The Financial Post, Toronto
[Editor’s note: Here in Benicia, Valero is repeatedly using a scare tactic as one of its primary talking points.  When Valero says that their Crude By Rail project will “ensure the refinery remains a strong and healthy member of the community” (quoting from Valero’s mailer), it plainly IMPLIES that without this project, Valero may NOT remain strong and healthy, nor a member of the community.  Valero has in this way frightened their own employees about their job security, and they hope to scare the rest of Benicia about the possibility of a sell-off or closure, harming the local tax base and economy.
20x1_spacerA few fearful and disorderly refinery employees and/or supporters have made verbal threats and ruined SafeBenicia signs, but opponents of the project don’t scare that easily.  A transition away from fossil fuels will be fought with money, fear and every form of propaganda.  Don’t listen.  Solidarity with the workers is fine, but don’t buy into the threats that feed their fear and fury.
T20x1_spacerhe following article on “Atlantic Basin” refineries details 15 closures, 1 sale and 5 “saved” refineries over the last 5 years.  Four of the closures were U.S. refineries, one in Canada.  These closures and retrofits will be a growing phenomenon as we transition out of fossil fuels as a primary energy source.  It will be tough on us all, but good for life on Earth.  – RS]

Shut down, saved or sold: The Atlantic Basin refineries

Selam Gebrekidan, Reuters | June 21, 2013
Imperial Oil Dartmouth Refinery, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Imperial Oil Dartmouth Refinery, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. | Imperial Oil Limited

Imperial Oil Ltd said earlier this week it was unable to find a buyer for its refinery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and will instead convert the facility into a terminal operation.

The refinery, which employs some 400 staff and contractors, is Imperial’s least-profitable operation, as it uses high-priced imported crude oil. The company’s other three refineries process cheaper Canadian crude.

Imperial, controlled by Exxon Mobil Corp, put the refinery up for sale more than a year ago and has had interested parties but was not able to make a deal.

The refinery, the only one in Nova Scotia, is among several on both sides of the Atlantic that operators have put up for sale, shut down, or threatened to close due to poor economics.

Below is a list of these refineries.


Owner: Imperial Oil Ltd
Capacity: 88,000 BPD
Imperial said in June 2013 it was unable to find a buyer for its Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, refinery after putting it up on sale more than a year ago, and will instead convert the facility into a terminal operation. The refinery is Imperial’s least-profitable operation as it uses high-priced imported crude oil. Imperial is controlled by Exxon Mobil Corp.

Owner: Hess Corp
Capacity: 70,000 BPD
Hess shut down its Port Reading refinery at the end of February, 2013, the second such facility the company was forced to shutter over the last year, marking the company’s exit from the refining and terminal business.

Owner: Valero Energy Corp
Capacity: 235,000 BPD
Valero decided to convert the refinery into a crude oil and refined products terminal in September 2012 after failing to find a buyer for the plant.

The refinery had been idled since March 2012 due to weak profit margins since it processes heavy sour crudes it bought at a higher cost. Chinese oil giant PetroChina was said to be among strong bidders for the refinery.

Owner: Hovensa LLC, a joint-venture between Hess Corp and state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela
Capacity: 350,000 BPD
Hovensa first reduced rates from 500,000 bpd and then shut the refinery in February 2012. The government of the U.S. Virgin Island objected to the shutdown and in April 2013 said it had agreed to a 14-month sales process with Hovensa LLC, during which time the company could use the plant as a terminal.

The refinery had been powered by fuel oil rather than cheap natural gas because its isolation in the Caribbean mean gas imports are not available. That fact contributed to Hovensa making a loss of $1.3 billion in the last three years of its operation and any future owner will have the same problem to contend with.

Owner: Sunoco Inc, part of Energy Transfer Partners LP, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, which is part owned by Energy Transfer Partners.
Capacity: 178,000 BPD
Sunoco shut the refinery in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, in December 2011, due to excess capacity and poor margins. Sunoco Logistics then bought the refinery in April 2013 for $60 million and plans to turn it into a natural gas liquids hubs to take advantage of the nearby Marcellus and Utica shale plays.

The company received no offers for the plant as a refinery. Sunoco is processing natural gas at the plant.

Owner: Western Refining
Capacity: 66,300 BPD
Western Refining shut the refinery in September 2010 because of poor refining margins. The site was subsequently sold to Plains All American in December 2011 and is currently in use as a terminal.

Owner: Sunoco Inc, part of Energy Transfer Partners LP.
Capacity:145,000 BPD
Sunoco shut the Eagle Point refinery in November 2009, the first of the casualties of weak demand and slim profit margins among Atlantic Basin refineries. The site, which is connected under the Delaware River to Sunoco’s other sites, Philadelphia and Marcus Hook (see above), is a terminal with capacity to receive barges of Bakken crude from Albany.

Owner: LyondellBasell
Capacity: 105,000 BPD
In January 2012, LyondellBasell mothballed the refinery in southeastern France having been unable to find a buyer for the plant since it began a sales process in May 2011.

Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty ImagesAn employee of US chemical group LyondellBasell waves a French flag as the employees gather during a new general meeting to protest against the closing of their plant in Berre l’Etang, southern France, on September 29, 2011.


Owner: Petroplus
Capacity: 175,000 bpd
A joint-venture of UK Ltd, Vopak and Greenergy bought the refinery from Petroplus and converted it into a terminal in June, 2012. The refinery had stopped processing crude in May last year after its estimated $1 billion price tag failed to attract buyers.

Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Matthew Lloyd/BloombergThe Petroplus refinery in Coryton, Essex.


Owner: Petroplus
Capacity: 117,000 bpd
Petroplus idled the plant in April 2009.

Owner: PetroPlus
Capacity: 161,000 bpd
Petroplus announced in April 2013 that it will shut the refinery after bids to buy it were rejected as unfeasible by the plant’s administrator.

Owner: Petroplus
Capacity: 85,000 bpd
Petroplus closed the refinery in eastern France in the second quarter of 2011. The least profitable of the plants in the PetroPlus refinery stable, the refinery was converted to become a terminal.

Owner: Total SA
Capacity: 150,000 BPD
A French court authorized oil major Total to permanently close the refinery in late October 2010 and proceed with plans to develop non-refining activities on the site.

Owner: ConocoPhillips
Capacity: 260,000 bpd
ConocoPhillips put the simple, hydroskimming refinery up for sale in July 2010. It was bought a year later by private Dutch company Hestya. It is currently being used as a terminal.

Owner: Tamoil
Capacity:  90,000 bpd
Libya’s Tamoil shut the Italian refinery at the end of March 2011 and said it would pursue plans to convert the plant to a storage site.



Owner: Murphy Oil
Capacity: 130,000 BPD
U.S. oil firm Murphy Oil Corp said it would sell the plant to focus on oil and gas exploration and its U.S. retail business. In its first quarter earnings, announced in May 2013, the company said it continues to look for a buyer.


Capacity: 330,000 BPD
Current Owner: Philadelphia Energy Solutions
Former Owner: Sunoco Inc. Philadelphia Energy Solutions is the largest refinery on the U.S. East Coast and is a joint venture of Carlyle Group LP and Energy Transfer Partners, which bought its former owner, Sunoco.

Sunoco and Carlyle reached a deal in the summer of 2012 to keep the plant running with Carlyle overseeing daily operations while Sunoco retained a minority stake in return for its refinery assets. JPMorgan Chase & Co’s commodities division would supply the refinery with crude and non-crude feedstocks and purchase fuel produced by the plant for offtake.

Regional legislators, refinery unions and industry operators lobbied against the plant’s shutdown arguing that fuel shortages in the East Coast after the plant’s potential shutdown could create fuel shortages and hurt U.S. national security.

Mike Mergen/Bloomberg News

Mike Mergen/Bloomberg NewsSunoco Inc.’s Philadelphia Refinery stands on the banks of the Schuykill River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Capacity: 185,000 BPD
Current Owner: Monroe Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines
Former Owner: ConocoPhillips, which later spun off its refining and downstream arm Phillips 66 Delta bought the refinery from Conoco Phillips in spring of 2012 in order to control its jet fuel costs, which had reached $12 billion in 2011. The refinery has not yet become profitable But Delta said it expects the plant to turn a profit of $75 million to $100 million in the second quarter. It expects to use 50,000 bpd of cheap shale oil from the Bakken formation in North Dakota by the end of 2013.

Delta has a contract with BP Plc for crude supplies and former owner Phillips 66 to sell or swap products other than the jet fuel that the airline needs.

Jeff Topping/Getty Images

Jeff Topping/Getty Images


Capacity: 68,000 BPD
Current Owner: Varo Energy Holding, a joint venture between Vitol and Marcel Van Poecke, co-founder of PetroPlus, and founder of AtlasInvest.
Former Owner: Petroplus Vitol, the world’s largest oil trader, formed the joint venture to buy the refinery in June 2012, six months after Swiss-based Petroplus filed for insolvency. The refinery was fully operational by July that year.

Capacity: 107,500 bpd
Current Owner: Gunvor, Swiss-based trading house
Seller: PetroPlus Swiss-based trading firm Gunvor, co-owned by Russian tycoon Gennady Timchenko, bought the refinery in March 2012 from insolvent Petroplus to expand its infrastructure footprint in Europe’s largest oil trading hub. The purchase also provides Gunvor with “bricks and mortar” assets, giving it a reason to hedge exposure to physical markets ahead of stringent regulations on derivatives trading.

Jock Fistick/Bloomberg

Jock Fistick/BloombergStorage tanks are seen at the Antwerp oil refinery.


Capacity: 100,000 bpd
Current Owner: Gunvor
Former Owner: PetroPlus Gunvor bought the refinery from insolvent Petroplus in May 2012 and began operating the plant that August. The refinery had been in stand-by mode for seven months before the deal.

Martinez Gazette: Healing Walk for those living near refineries

Repost from The Martinez Gazette

Healing Walk to ‘Connect the Dots’ through Martinez

May 15, 2014

Participants to walk refinery corridor, bring awareness to danger of dirty fuels

MARTINEZ, Calif. – A “Healing Walk” will be held this Saturday, May 17, starting at Waterfront Park in Martinez, as local residents hope to draw awareness to the issues related to living near refineries and show support for transitioning beyond fossil fuels.

The Valero Benicia Refinery has proposed a project to begin transporting crude oil from North American sources to Benicia by rail tanker cars. The project has raised serious questions about the health and safety of those in Benicia and beyond.

The area is home to three oil refineries, Shell and Tesoro in Martinez and Valero in Benicia.

This is the second in a series of four “Connect the Dots: Refinery Corridor Healing Walks along the Northeast San Francisco Bay.” This walk is in conjunction with the May 17 “Day of Action against Dirty Fuels” to ask President Obama and local officials to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. The Refinery Corridor Healing Walk will be one of hundreds of synchronized events with Hands Across the Sand/Land and other partners to raise awareness about the dangers of dirty fuels and the need to speed the transition to available, affordable clean energy solutions.

Citizens from Martinez, Benicia and the Bay Area will be joined by members of the Sierra Club, Martinez Environmental Group, Stop Crude by Rail, CRUDE, Sunflower Alliance, APEN, Communities for a Better Environment, The Global Monitor, CREDO Action, Greenpeace, 350.org, the Center for Biological Diversity and other organizations.

Residents from Martinez and Benicia are expected to speak at the morning and afternoon rallies.

The event will begin at Martinez Waterfront Park at 9 a.m. with a sign in and an opening rally with speakers from the Martinez Environmental Group and Idle No More, and will end at the 9th Street Park in Benicia. The walk is approximately seven miles.

A group of kayakers will paddle in the Carquinez Strait as a group alongside the Healing Walk, forming a kayak flotilla. They hope to draw special attention to protecting the bay, Delta and ocean. If you plan to join or have questions, contact David at dsolnit@yahoo.com.

For more information about the walk, go to https://actionnetwork. org/events/time-to-transition-no-kxl-refinery-corridor-healing-walk.

Benicia Herald: May 17 Healing Walk – wide coalition of sponsors

Repost from The Benicia Herald

Groups plan ‘healing walk’; call for end to crude by rail

May 15, 2014 by Donna Beth Weilenman

A “healing walk” organized by several area environmental groups is expected to attract participants who will carry banners Saturday as they walk from Martinez to Benicia to the sounds of Native-American drumming and prayers, said Roger Straw, a member of one of the groups, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community.

 A HEALING WALK will be held from Martinez to Benicia on Saturday. Courtesy photo
A HEALING WALK will be held from Martinez to Benicia on Saturday.  Courtesy photo

The event will begin with a prayer and a rally with speakers from Martinez Environmental Group and Idle No More. More prayers will be said near the Shell Refinery in Martinez and later near the Valero Benicia Refinery.

As participants cross the Benicia-Martinez bridge, engaging in prayer and conversation, a flotilla of canoes and kayaks are expected to be on the Carquinez Strait below, Straw said. Depending on weather, the boats may travel from Martinez to Benicia’s Alvarez Ninth Street Park for concluding activities.

Walkers will stop at Vista Point for prayer and educational talks, then continue toward the Benicia First Street waterfront by way of the city’s ballfields on East H Street, where restrooms are available.

The next stop on the way to the waterfront will be at the corner of East B and First streets, where parking and restrooms are available and food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Walkers will then proceed to Alvarez Ninth Street Park, where they will hear speakers at a concluding rally and can express their thoughts on pieces of muslin that later will be sewn into a quilt and displayed.

Support vehicles will accompany the walkers to give them an opportunity to rest, but lunch will not be provided, Straw said. Water will be available for those who bring refillable water bottles.

Straw said the walk is backed by the Sierra Club, Martinez Environmental Group, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community, Crockett-Rodeo United to Defend the Environment, Sunflower Alliance, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Communities for a Better Environment, The Global Monitor, CREDO Action, Greenpeace, 350.org, the Center for Biological Diversity and other organizations.

Pennie Opal Plant, spokesperson for Refinery Corridor Healing Walks, said this is the second in a series of four San Francisco Bay Area “Connect the Dots: Refinery Corridor Healing Walks” to bring attention to the Keystone Pipeline System in Canada and the United States and its fourth phase of construction, as well as concerns about living near refineries and what Plant called “a just transition to clean energy.”

“This walk is in conjunction with the May 17 Day of Action against Dirty Fuels, to ask the president and local officials to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and other dirty fuel projects that threaten our communities and destabilize our climate,” she said.

“The Refinery Corridor Healing Walk will be one of hundreds of synchronized events with Hands Across the Sand/Land and other partners to raise awareness about the dangers of dirty fuels and the need to speed the transition to available, affordable clean energy solutions,” she said.

Plant said the actions are in response to the State Department’s announcement that it would extend its review of the Keystone pipeline.

The first walk was April 12, when participants walked from Pittsburg Marina Park to Martinez Waterfront Park.

The timing was near that of the “Reject and Protect” encampment on the National Mall in Washington from April 22-27, when farmers, ranchers and members of various Native-American organizations spent the week speaking out against the Keystone pipeline and tar sands crude.

The starting point was chosen because Pittsburg is a proposed site for an oil terminal that would bring up to 100 rail cars of crude daily for distribution. Martinez has two refineries, Shell and Tesoro.

Plant said “Connect the Dots” walks will take place monthly for four months. There is no charge to participate but walkers are asked to donate at least $5 to defer costs, and additional contributions will be accepted, she said.

This second walk will start at 8:15 a.m. Saturday with a prayer for water and a rally at Martinez Waterfront Park at Court Street at the north end of Ferry Street, Martinez, and will conclude with another rally at the end of the walk at the Alvarez Ninth Street Park.

Future walks will go from Benicia to Rodeo June 14, and from Rodeo to Richmond July 12.