More Flaring at Torrance Refinery

Thursday, June 8, 2017 @ 02:06 PM gHale

Flaring from a Torrance Refining Co. hydrotreater caused plumes of smoke to pour out from the Torrance, CA, refinery Monday afternoon, as the company attempted to restart the equipment.

The flaring was expected to continue through the evening as the unit is slowly brought back online, said Torrance Fire Department Assistant Chief Steve Treskes.

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Flares are intended for unplanned chemical emissions, and are designed to reduce pollution exposure to the community.

The Torrance refinery, however, has had persistent problems with flaring events. Over the past four years, it has released more pollution into the air via unplanned flaring than the six other oil refineries in Southern California combined, according to data from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

“The Torrance Refining Co. reported the unplanned flaring event is due to too much steam on the pump’s start-up, in the hydrotreater unit, requiring diversion to flaring,” Treskes said. “The event is expected to last through the evening.”

The refinery has struggled with community pressure to reduce its routine flaring for the past two years.

In February 2015, an explosion at the 750-acre site then owned by ExxonMobil caused a blast felt for miles around, and sent debris flying.

The facility is in the midst of a three-month, $100 million maintenance overhaul of all its facilities to improve operations and prevent another explosion.

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