Torrance Refinery

Updated: April 27, 2017

Recent and Upcoming Activities

SCAQMD Hearing Board New
On Wednesday, April 26, the SCAQMD Hearing board denied in part, and granted in part, a petition for variance (PDF) by Torrance Refining Company for a short variance to perform maintenance and repairs of equipment at the refinery. The Hearing Board approved on a 4-1 vote, with Senator Holden voting no. The Hearing Board: 
  • Granted variance to allow Torrance refinery to take the fourth stage separator cyclone out of service to replace cracked piping. Variance is for 10 non-consecutive days from May 1 through May 30.
  • Granted variance to allow Torrance refinery to isolate Flare 65F-4 to perform maintenance.  Variance is for 30 non-consecutive days from April 29 through July 1.
  • Variance granted does not allow venting of hydrogen to the atmosphere. 
For details on prior hearings, please see the Hearing Board Proceedings section below.

Compliance

 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

SCAQMD inspectors were at the Torrance refinery all day February 18, 2017 investigating an incident. A fire started about 6:00 am in equipment related to the crude unit. Flaring was required but the refinery continued operations.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.The South Coast Air Quality Management District dispatched field inspection staff this morning to the Torrance Refining Co. in response to a fire at the refinery.

The refinery reported the following:

At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 18, 2017, the Torrance Refinery experienced a localized fire in a process area.

Plant personnel quickly contained and extinguished the fire, working with Torrance Fire Department (TFD) who responded to the site. The Del Amo Street Barriers were activated under an abundance of caution.

All safety systems at the refinery operated properly and all personnel are safe and accounted for, with no injuries or offsite impact.

The incident was reported to appropriate agencies including the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Torrance Fire Department, California Office of Emergency Services, and we continue to work with these agencies.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

Other than the affected unit, the refinery continues to operate.

SCAQMD will post additional updates to this website as warranted.

Hearing Board Proceedings


Hearing on Petition for Order for Abatement, Regarding Torrance Refinery 

On October 21, 2016, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) filed a stipulated petition for an administrative order, known as an Order for Abatement, against the Torrance Refining Company, LLC (“TORC”).  SCAQMD alleges that TORC’s flaring event at its Torrance refinery after an October 11, 2016 power outage, and the resulting impact to the surrounding community, caused a public nuisance.  SCAQMD seeks to require TORC to take certain measures to minimize the potential for future public nuisance events associated with power supply interruptions.  These measures include evaluation of TORC’s critical safety and utility systems, improvements based on those evaluations, and evaluation of proposed upgrades to TORC’s electrical distribution network design.  

On Wednesday, February 15 and 16, 2017, the Hearing Board of the SCAQMD held public hearings on the proposed Stipulated Order for Abatement.  The Stipulated Order for Abatement was approved by the Hearing Board on February 16, 2017. 

Link to Proposed Findings, Decision, and Order for Torrance Refinery, Case no. 6060-5 (PDF, 5MB)
Link to Petition-Order for Abatement Stipulated for Torrance Refinery Oct 2016 (PDF, 193K)    
Link Stipulated Order for Abatement and Findings and Decision of the Hearing Board, (PDF, 1.8MB) February 15 and 16, 2017

These legal proceedings are open to the public.  Information on the Hearing Board is located at: www.aqmd.gov/home/about/hearing-board

For more information, please contact the Public Advisor at 909-396-2432 or by email at publicadvisor@aqmd.gov.

SCAQMD Refinery Committee Hearing 

On Saturday, April 1, 2017, the Refinery Committee held a day investigative hearing attended by more than 250 residents and refinery workers, SCAQMD Board members questioned numerous experts and listened to community members to help inform the agency’s effort to reduce air pollution and improve safety at the facility.  The hearing will be broadcast on Torrance City Cable.  More information on the hearing and the presentations are available here.

The Board also heard testimony from several dozen residents and refinery workers. However, since more than 100 asked to speak, a follow-up hearing was held on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at Torrance City Council Chambers to hear from those individuals who submitted a Request to Speak card, but did not have an opportunity to do so.  The agenda is available here for the hearing on April 8.  

SCAQMD will develop or amend three refinery regulations this year to reduce air pollution in the region, specifically:
- Additional requirements to reduce planned and unplanned flaring;
- Requirements for refineries to monitor air quality at their fence line and/or in the nearby community to better assess potential exposure; and
- A requirement for the two refineries that use modified hydrofluoric acid – Torrance Refining Co. and Valero Wilmington Refinery – to phase out the highly toxic chemical.
 
Background information related to the meeting of the Refinery Committee can be found in the following press release, SCAQMD Calls for Special Hearing to Discuss Concerns about Repeated Incidents at Torrance Refinery, February 19, 2017

For more information, please contact the Public Advisor at 909-396-2432 or by email at PublicAdvisor@aqmd.gov.

 

P2017-06 - RFP for Supplemental Environmental Project Fund -- ExxonMobil Settlement


On September 2, 2016, the SCAQMD released P2017-06 - RFP for Supplemental Environmental Project Fund -- ExxonMobil Settlement.  The closing date for proposals was November 2, 2016, at 1:00 pm.  

RFP Schedule 


Please be advised that the schedule for SCAQMD Governing Board consideration of proposals has been postponed.  Updated information will be available shortly.  Notifications will be sent if there are future updates and/or changes to the schedule.   

If you have questions, please contact the Public Advisor at 909-396-2432 or by email at publicadvisor@aqmd.gov.  

Past Meetings Related to RFP P2017-06:

On Wednesday, August 24, 2016, SCAQMD held a community meeting to solicit ideas from community members and other stakeholders on the use of ExxonMobil settlement monies for project(s) that provide public health and quality of life improvements. A wide variety of ideas and input was received from the community on topics such as the type and location of projects; proposal evaluation criteria; and other considerations for proposed RFP.

On September 21, 2016, the SCAQMD held a Bidder's Conference and Office Hours for RFP P2017-06.

 

Alyklation Technology Study

 

On September 15, 2016, the SCAQMD released the Norton Engineering Alkylation Technology Study. This study reviews and evaluates options for replacing HF Alkylation units at refineries in the SCAQMD's jurisdiction.  Below is a quick link to the study:

Alkylation Technology Study

For more information, please contact the Public Advisor at 909-396-396-2432 or by email at publicadvisor@aqmd.gov.

Events related to FCCU startup

Air Monitoring

SCAQMD conducted an air monitoring assessment during the startup processes of the Torrance Refinery FCCU on September 23, 2016 using a combination of measurement methods to assess pollutants of primary concern (PM, H2S, HCN, Benzene and other pollutants) in the adjacent areas of the facility and downwind.  Measurement efforts focused on near real-time continuous monitors for gradient measurements.  The survey field measurements (PM, H2S, HCN, and benzene) showed levels that did not exceed health protective thresholds for short term exposures. 

Four canister samples were also collected for a more thorough laboratory analysis during the startup event (see Table below). Analysis using EPA Method TO-15 for air toxics was performed on these samples and, overall, the results are within the expected range for the South Coast Basin. One of the four samples (# 1627009-02) detected the presence of acetonitrile at a concentration of 0.67 µg/m3; acetonitrile was not detected in the other three samples. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment currently does not have an established Reference Exposure Level for either short-term nor long-term exposure to acetonitrile in ambient air. However, for long-term exposures to acetonitrile, the U.S. EPA established a Reference Concentration for this compound (RfC = 60 µg/m3), meaning that continuous exposures to acetonitrile at levels below the RfC over a lifetime would likely be without an appreciable risk of adverse health effects.

Lab ID*  Sample Location  Date/Time 
 1626738-01  W. 190th St. & Crenshaw Blvd.  09/23/16 14:12
 1626738-02  Haas Ave/W 190th St  09/23/16 15:14
 1627009-01  Ermanita/98th Ave (Background)  09/23/16 10:54
 1627009-02  Crenshaw – West of Flare  09/23/16 12:55

*Click on the Lab IDs to view the analysis results 

On September 26, 2016, two monitors were deployed for temporary monitoring of particulate matter (both PM2.5 and PM10) and the results are published at https://xappprod.aqmd.gov/smsdatasite  (NOTE: select the ExxonMobil monitoring sites from the Monitoring Sites drop-down in the upper right corner of the screen to view the results).