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Motiva's Response

by Frank Wheeler, Refinery Manager

Thank you for this opportunity to respond to October's County Comment's account of the Civic League's September meeting. It unfortunately omitted valuable information about the amended Consent Decree between the US EPA, DNREC and Motiva.

I would like to emphasize that in 2001, the Motiva Delaware City Refinery became the first refinery in the Northeast to participate in the U.S. EPA's "Petroleum Refinery Initiative," a nationwide program designed to encourage refiners to adopt pollution control technologies to reduce emissions.

The amended Consent Decree, which provides for the installation of regenerative wet gas scrubbers on the refinery's Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) and Fluid Coking Unit (FCU), will result in substantial air emission reductions. The reductions will be even greater emission reductions than were required originally. It also positively responds to the public's preference for regenerative scrubbers so that sulfur dioxide (SO2) removed from the air can be converted into useful products.

The controls Motiva will install under the amended Consent Decree will reduce SO2 emissions to state-of-the-art levels with the potential to push pollution control technology even further. The average annual emissions limits drop from 50 parts per million (ppm) to 25 ppm on the FCCU, and from 168 ppm to 150 ppm or less on the FCU.

Installing regenerative scrubbers on a fluid coker process is unprecedented. Because we share the public's desire for significant emission reductions, we agreed to emit no more than 150 parts per million of SO2 on the fluid coker because that is as far as the base technology will take us, not because we do not want to go lower. We have also committed to make even greater investments if new innovations can achieve greater reductions.

In total, this agreement will result in SO2 reductions of approximately 52 million pounds per year and total particulate matter (PM10) reductions of approximately 1.75 million pounds per year.

Also, to be clear, Motiva was advised that the Civic League's September meeting was about the amended Consent Decree. In the interest of time and in order to ensure that questions about the amended Consent Decree were addressed to the satisfaction of the audience, I asked that non-Consent Decree questions be deferred. In other public meetings that we attend, and where the topic was not specifically defined, we have discussed maintenance and other refinery issues. It should be noted that refinery maintenance was the topic of the refinery's most recent Community Forum held on May 19 at Southern Elementary School. This Community Forum was an advertised event open to the public.

Motiva acknowledges that the operating history of the Delaware City Refinery has not been acceptable and accepts responsibility for the fact that operations need to improve. We have dedicated ourselves to improving the plant's environmental and safety performance. We will be more open and transparent in the way we operate our facility and report to you on how we are performing.

We welcome the opportunity to address any questions about refinery operations either at future Civic League meetings, other civic association meetings, or at an upcoming Community Forum. The public can always contact the refinery through our Community Relations office (834-6070) or online at

Frank Wheeler
Refinery Manager

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