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GP/JC CIP MEETING: Chevron plans to update Pasadena plant

TIM SUTHERLAND General Manager, Chevron Pasadena Refinery. JERELYN HUGHES-GLENN San Jacinto College, IT Department (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Jacinto City, Texas ~ September 1, 2022 ~ Chevron hosted the September Galena Park and Jacinto City Community-Industry Partnership (CIP) meeting at Jacinto City’s Town Center. Tim Sutherland Chevron’s Pasadena General Manager (GM) presented their renovation project. It will upgrade the century old former Crown Central Refinery ** (PRSI) plant south of the Washburn Tunnel.

The renovation project is important to the North Channel communities in terms of employment, economy and the quality of the environment.

Sutherland with 31 years of experience began his Pasadena GM role in May 2019, charged with the responsibility for safe and reliable operations of the facility. He joined Chevron in 1991 and was a member of the purchase team and served as the integration – transition manager for the purchase.

Chevron acquired the **Pasadena Refining System Inc. (PRSI) in May 2019 in order to process light-tight-crude-oil (LTO). The refinery will create ever-cleaner energy products that fuel local and global progress. Their global processes make fuels and lubricants under Chevron, Texaco and Caltex brands.

Light tight oil (LTO) – also called tight oil or shale oil is a low-density crude oil found within certain geological formations, such as shale or tight sandstone. By refining light crude it’s expected to improve environmental permitted emissions in a safer way than other types of crude oil.

Sutherland has said, “In all our work we place the highest priority on operating safely, reliably and responsibly to protect people and the environment. We’re committed to creating social and economic value wherever we do business and will work hard to earn your trust, respect and be a good neighbor.”

In 2021 to present they report a 75% reduction in air emissions and reporting issues. Over the past 12 recent months they had one excess opacity notification and zero other reportable “quantity” air emission events. There were no major negative findings with multiple agency inspections in waste, discharge elimination, leak detection and spill prevention.

Sutherland reported improvements were made in their flare system performance. A refinery flare is a means to emit and safely burn gases or liquids into the environment which cannot be used otherwise. Or if storage reaches capacity limits or pressures increase near unsafe levels. If this happens a safety feature will trigger automatic pressure relief valves sending the excesses to the flare stack for disposal. When designed and used properly the flare emissions are harmless producing environmentally safe steam and carbon dioxide (CO2).

The refinery will continue to produce a variety of petroleum products throughout nearly the project’s entire construction period. By reconfiguring the plant and idling a few historically unreliable units, it will increase refining capacity and give more flexibility to adjust ingredients to manufacture products higher in demand. The reconfiguration also gives it the ability to make jet fuel and other new products. An increase in the plant’s processing could result in producing 125,000 barrels of refined product per day.

The schedule of the new LTO project in 2022 to 2023 is to complete final design engineering, build foundations and install new equipment, which are underway.

In 2023 to 2024 process pipe fabrication begins followed by connecting pipes to the LTO equipment. Testing and completion of the system is projected in 2024.

Lon Squires, Jacinto City’s City Manager expressed his concern about the reliability and safety of the plant’s old equipment. Sutherland stated all equipment will be tested at half of their total life expectancy to ensure plant safety.

Tom Ehlers, Galena Park’s Fire Chief explained the state-of-the-art multiple siren warning system coming to GP from his grant application. He said as the project develops they’ll be making residents aware of how and when it’s going to be used.

Jerelyn Hughes-Glenn, representing San Jacinto College, IT Dept. reported their educational and technical training classes which could lead to employment opportunities at the Chevron facility. For more information call 281-542-2020 or CPD-IT@sjcd.edu.

Bill Stephens, a Chevron’s Communications Advisor provided he

Readers are encouraged to stay up-to-date with the CAER online system that’s managed by the East Harris County Manufacturers’ Association (EHCMA). It informs residents in the Houston ship channel area about operational updates and events in facilities. Information can be found about noise, odors, smoke, flaring, pipelines, railcars, tanker trucks and more.

Visit: ehcma.org/caeronline and download the app on your cell phone.

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