Marathon preparing revised air permit application for Detroit refinery

Marathon Petroleum Corp. is preparing an amended application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for a new air-quality permit at its Detroit refinery after city officials and residents said the original plan would increase sulfur dioxide and other emissions.

Marathon originally sought the new permit so it could install equipment at the 132,000-b/d plant so it could comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 3 requirement to begin producing lower-sulfur fuel there by January 2017, spokesman Jamal T. Kheiry said.

“We projected in our original permit application that this equipment would result in additional emissions,” he told OGJ. “Members of the community expressed particular concern about SO2 sulfur dioxide. We worked with Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration to amend the application so our projected increase would be zero additional SO2.”

More specific information was not available because Marathon has not submitted the amended application, Kheiry said. It is not expected to affect a class action lawsuit that two southwest Detroit residents filed in US District Court for Eastern Michigan on Mar. 8. They allege health, property, and other damages from the refinery’s emissions and operations.

Originally built in 1930 by Aurora Gasoline Co., the 250-acre refinery was acquired by what was then Ohio Oil Co. in 1959. It processes sweet and sour crudes, including imports from Canada, to produce gasoline, distillates, asphalt, fuel-grade coke, chemical-grade propylene, propane, slurry, and sulfur.

In 2012, Marathon completed the Detroit Heavy Oil Upgrade Project, increasing the refinery’s crude oil capacity by 14,000 b/d and its heavy crude oil processing capacity by 80,000 b/d.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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