Category Archives: Phillips 66 Nipomo Mesa refinery

Another Bay Area refinery shutting down fossil fuel production – Phillips 66 in Rodeo

Phillips 66 is turning a California oil refinery into a biofuel plant

Phillips 66 said its Rodeo refinery near San Francisco will make fuel from used cooking oil, fats, greases and soybean oils. Above, a taco shell, dripping oil, emerges from a deep fryer. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Times, by Bloomberg, August 12, 2020

Phillips 66 has become the latest in a string of U.S. refiners to announce plans to convert an oil refinery into a biofuel plant.

The company said Wednesday that its 120,000 barrel-a-day Rodeo refinery near San Francisco will become the world’s biggest plant that makes so-called renewable diesel, as well as gasoline and jet fuel, out of used cooking oil, fats, greases and soybean oils.

The announcement came about a week after Marathon Petroleum Corp. said that it may convert two refineries into renewable diesel plants. In June, HollyFrontier Corp. said it would turn its Cheyenne, Wyo., refinery into a renewable diesel plant by 2022.

As refiners across the U.S. struggle with depressed fuel demand amid the pandemic, California’s low-carbon fuel trading scheme may represent a pathway for survival. Demand for so-called renewable diesel is surging in the Golden State as refiners buy increasing numbers of credits under the low-carbon fuel standard program, which aims to cut vehicle emissions 20% by 2030.

“There is overcapacity on the refining market,” Marijn van der Wal, biofuel advisor at Stratas Advisors in Singapore, said in an interview Wednesday. “Are we going to shut down our refineries or are we going to repurpose them?”

Renewable diesel is chemically identical to diesel derived from fossil fuels, according to Neste Oyj, the word’s biggest producer of the fuel.

The LCFS credits as well as federal RIN D5 credits and recently reintroduced Blenders Tax Credits generate about $3.32 a gallon in subsidies for renewable diesel producers, enough to cover production costs, Van der Wal said in a June report.

“It’s a mind-boggling amount of money,” he said by phone. “You will make a lot of money as long as all these subsidies come in.”

Find out why the smallest details can be the most important.
The Rodeo plant could start operating as early as 2024, producing 680 million gallons a year of renewable diesel, gasoline and jet fuel, the company said. Combined with production from an existing project in development, the plant would produce more than 800 million gallons a year. In addition to repurposing the Rodeo refinery, the company also announced it would be closing its 45,000-barrel-a-day plant in Santa Maria in 2023.

Last week, Marathon said it will convert its 166,000-barrel-a-day Martinez, Calif., refinery into a terminal facility and that may include a 48,000-barrel-a-day renewable diesel plant as soon as 2022. The company is turning its 19,000-barrel-a-day North Dakota plant into a renewable diesel plant by the end of this year.

The surge of new entrants into the California biofuel market is creating its own problems, Van der Wal said. Existing renewable diesel suppliers to California, including Neste and Valero Energy Corp., have locked up much of the feedstock, leaving less tallow and cooking oil for the newcomers. Additionally, so many projects are being proposed that there may not be enough diesel demand in California to absorb the additional fuel.

Updates On The Threat Of Crude-By-Rail In California

Repost of an email…
[Editor: The email came with this March 2019 Mesa Refinery Watch Group Newsletter.  For much more, see  – R.S.]

 Martin Akel, March 22, 2019
Subject: Updates On The Threat Of Crude-By-Rail In California

Dear [            ]:

There’s no denying it — there are deliberate attempts to overturn regulations and policies that protect our environment, health and safety.  Therefore, regardless of the rejection of Phillips 66’s crude oil trains, we must remain educated about potential threats.  Click on the link below to read the latest MRWG newsletter, which includes …

► How Kern County followed in SLO County’s footsteps … saying “NO!” to crude oil trains.

► How the federal government used flawed data when canceling improved brakes for trains.

► How railroads have yet again missed the deadline for installing new safety technology.

► How Canada is expanding their production of dangerous tar sands and investing in crude oil trains.

► Why Phillips’ former claim of needing oil trains to gain “energy independence” was simply misleading.

► Plus — dozens of recent examples of serious railroad and oil industry safety problems.

The Mesa Refinery Watch Group

San Luis Obispo victory: media roundup

In an email from Ethan Buckner…

SLO victory: media roundup

By Ethan Buckner,, 10/6/2016 2:23 PM

Sacramento Bee: California rejects another oil company’s plan to ship oil on trains

San Luis Obispo Tribune: SLO Planning Commission rejects Phillips 66 oil-by-rail proposal

KSBY News:

KCBX: SLO County Planning Commission votes to deny Phillips 66 rail spur project

Lompoc Record: SLO County Planning Commission votes down oil-by-rail proposal

CalCoast News: SLO County Planning Commission denies Phillips 66 rail spur project

Pacific Coast Business Times: Phillips 66’s crude-by-rail proposal denied

BREAKING NEWS: San Luis Obispo Planning Commission Denies Phillips 66’s Oil Trains Project

From a Press Release

Press Release: San Luis Obispo Planning Commission Denies Phillips 66’s Oil Trains Project

By Ethan Buckner, October 5, 2016

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission today voted to reject Phillips 66’s proposed oil train facility in Nipomo.The decision comes after a nearly three-year review process, with more than 20,000 Californians opposing the project, and more than 45 cities, counties, and school boards sending letters urging the planning commission to deny it.

This decision comes on the heels of the Benicia City Council’s rejection Tuesday night of a similar project proposed for Valero’s Benicia refinery. The Benicia denial came only hours after the federal Surface Transportation Board issued an order upholding the city’s authority to deny Valero’s project. The Board’s ruling rejecting the claim that local governments are preempted by federal law and lack the authority to deny hazardous projects slated for their communities also applies to San Luis Obispo County, where Phillips 66 has made similar arguments.

If built, the Phillips 66 oil trains terminal would allow more than 7 million gallons of crude oil to be shipped via rail to its local refinery each week. The project would make it possible for Phillips 66 to refine volatile and carbon-intensive tar sands crude from Canada and elsewhere in the United States. Tar sands crude,

when prepared for transport, is thinned with an unstable blend of chemicals have been known to explode in derailment incidents, which have become increasingly frequent in recent years.

As evidenced by the 10 oil train explosions in the United States over the past two years, and the tragic explosion that killed 47 in Lac-Mégantic, Canada, similar trains in California would place communities’ health, safety, and environment at serious risk. Trains servicing the Phillips 66 project would have traveled from the north and south through hundreds of major California cities and smaller communities, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, Davis, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose. These trains also would have jeopardized numerous ecologically sensitive areas including the San Francisco Bay and California’s iconic central coast.


Public interest groups released the following statements:

“The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission listened to the people of this community, who overwhelmingly oppose this oil trains project. Our community is ready to move beyond dangerous oil projects and towards a clean energy economy that works for all of us. Should this project be appealed, we expect the Board of Supervisors to follow the Planning Commission’s lead and reject this project once and for all.” – Heidi Harmon, SLO Stop Oil Trains Campaign

“Today is a milestone in our struggle to defeat the Phillips 66 oil train terminal project. The majority of Planning Commissioners, paying heed both to the recommendations of their Staff as well as the thousands of SLO County citizens who oppose the project, voted to deny it. The fact that the Boards of Supervisors of every coastal county between San Francisco and Los Angeles was also opposed to the project played an important role as well. The County Board of Supervisors will next consider and vote on the project which turns the focus on the North County District One race between candidates Steve Martin and John Peschong.” – Charles Varni, SLO County Surfrider

“Today’s vote is a great victory for the people of San Luis Obispo and California, as well as for the planet. This victory demonstrates the people power of communities all around the state who organized and participated in the public process to defeat this ill-conceived and dangerous project. Kudos also to the local residents who refused to be intimidated by a huge and politically powerful corporation that wanted to put profits before community safety.” – Andres Soto, Communities for a Better Environment

“The people of California owe eternal thanks to the San Luis Obispo Department of Planning and the County Planning Commission. If Phillips 66 chooses to appeal this decision, millions will be watching the board of supervisors to see if they will choose to uphold state environmental law and the county’s general plan, or disregard the judgment of their own commissioners, the advice of county planners and the overwhelming will of the people.” – Ethan Buckner, Extreme Oil Campaigner,

“The planning commission’s decision is a huge victory for the people of San Luis Obispo and all across California. We can all breathe a huge sigh of relief that, at least for now, Phillips 66 will not be allowed to put our communities, water, and wildlife at risk from oil train explosions and fires and toxic air pollution. We applaud the planning commission for standing up to the oil industry and putting the health and safety of their constituents first.” – Valerie Love, Clean Energy Campaigner, Center for Biological Diversity

“This project, wisely rejected by county authorities, is another example of how Big Oil wants the American people to shoulder the risk for crude oil transport — whether an exploding train or a leaking pipeline — while the dirty polluters rake in the profits. Ultimately, the best way to safeguard our air and water, our communities, and our families is to speed up the transition to clean energy prosperity and keep dirty, dangerous fuels like tar sands crude in the ground.” – Andrew Christie, Chapter Director, Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter

“The Planning Commission deserves credit for listening to all the evidence, the powerful denial recommendation from their staff and the outpouring of community opposition and for denying this dangerous project,” said Linda Krop, Chief Counsel for the Environmental Defense Center. “This was the right decision and the only possible decision if the goal is to keep our communities and environment safe.” – Linda Krop, Chief Counsel, Environmental Defense Center