Marathon Oil Corp. today announced that construction of the estimated $1.9 billion heavy oil upgrading project at its Detroit refinery is underway following issuance of an air quality permit by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
With expected completion in late 2010, the project will increase the refinery's total capacity from 102,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 115,000 bpd, which will include an additional 80,000 bpd of heavy oil capacity. The increased refining capacity will supply more than 400,000 additional gallons of clean transportation fuels a day to the marketplace.
"The Detroit Heavy Oil Upgrade Project is illustrative of strategic investments we're making across our downstream business to increase coking capacity, lower feedstock costs as well as increase efficiency and flexibility, so we can continue providing competitive returns in a challenging downstream environment," said Gary R. Heminger, executive vice president of Marathon and president of the company's refining, marketing and transportation operations.
The project will require an average of 800 construction workers a day until its completion. In addition, the expansion will increase the refinery workforce by 135 full-time employees. There are 480 full-time employees at the refinery today.
Heminger explained that by sourcing additional crude oil from Marathon's North American neighbors in Canada, the project will provide improved crude oil supply security for Michigan's only refinery.
"Since purchasing the refinery in 1959, Marathon has made substantial investments in the facility, including the completion of a more than $300 million expansion and clean fuels project in 2005," he added. "Safety and environmental stewardship will continue to be our primary focus during the construction."
In addition to compliance with the stringent environmental requirements set out by the MDEQ permitting process, Marathon has committed to going beyond compliance with additional environmental enhancements that include:
- Retrofitting 150 Detroit Public Schools' buses with diesel emissions controls
- Adding eight additional continuous air emission monitors on process unit stacks to further monitor compliance with permit requirements
- Installing at least four ambient air monitoring stations on the refinery perimeter to monitor air quality
- Capturing emissions from trucks hauling petroleum coke at the refinery
- Enhancing street sweeping of paved roads near the refinery
- Collaborating on the city/county emergency notification system
- Sharing emissions data with the refinery's Community Advisory Panel and community-based organizations near the refinery