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Local News

June 27, 2012

Valero digs deep into green technology

PORT ARTHUR — By the beginning of next year, the Port Arthur Valero Refinery will be using the largest carbon capture and storage or CCS project in the world, making it a pioneer for environmental and engineering development.

The technology, developed by Air Products and Chemicals Inc., takes CO2 gas out of methane steam from the plant and places it into a pipeline owned by Plano-based Denbury Resources Inc. on site in Port Arthur.

The CO2 will then be injected into oil reserves, owned by Denbury, to recover untapped oil.

Not only does the project increase the amount of oil that can be taken out of the earth but it also decreases the carbon emissions of the Valero plant, which many scientists believe contribute to global warming.

Enhanced oil recovery using CO2 allows for 17 percent more oil to be extracted from an oil well, according to the Denbury website.

“It means more oil for the refineries and that Port Arthur is first at getting this CO2 recovery project on a refinery,” said Gloria Power director of business development North American Tonnage Gases for Air Products .

The Air Products CCS project was selected in June 2010 from a large group of projects for funding stemming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2007 and the project, which costs around $431 million, is only possible because of United States Department of Energy or DOE funding, according to Air Products Inc.

“Without the DOE funding it would not be economically viable,” said Power.

The new device will be the largest steam methane reformer in the world and ranks number one in the world in the Race To First, a semi-annual ranking of the world’s most advanced large-scale demonstrations of carbon capture and storage.

“We are very pleased to be able to do the project,” said Power. “We are pleased to bring something new.”

Air Products predicts the project could be finished as soon as December of 2012.

bjanes@panews.com

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