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  Geotimes - November 2007 - ConocoPhillips pays to expand refinery

Energy and Resources
ConocoPhillips pays to expand refinery

ConocoPhillips is set to expand its oil refinery just outside of San Francisco, Calif. — for a price. In an agreement between the company and the state of California, the company will pay $10 million to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the refinery, as reported Sept. 12 in the San Francisco Chronicle. Though Contra Costa County had already agreed to let the refinery expansion — which would include building a hydrogen plant to process heavy crude oil more cleanly — proceed, California Attorney General Jerry Brown challenged the county’s approval, suggesting it did not take into account California’s tough (and growing tougher) air quality standards. Brown and ConocoPhillips agreed to terms in September to keep the case out of court and to let the expansion proceed.

According to the agreement, ConocoPhillips will pay the Bay Area Air Quality Management District $7 million to fund projects to offset the plant’s expected emissions of 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, the Chronicle reported. Additionally, $2.8 million will go to grow trees in mature forests, and $200,000 will go to restoring local wetlands.

California is currently also examining a permit request by Chevron to expand or replace one of its refineries in the state. Energy insiders wonder what the ConocoPhillips agreement might mean for the future of refineries. The last new oil refinery built in the United States was in the 1970s.

Megan Sever

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