Upgrading existing equipment and adding new equipment enables our two facilities to more efficiently work together as one integrated refinery. This more modern configuration will allow us to retire the Wilmington Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) unit, which generates a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
Construction for the LARIC project can only begin after the proposed project has been independently and thoroughly reviewed for environmental impacts and certified by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Equipment Upgrades and Additions
The LARIC project includes equipment modifications to several process and support areas at the Carson and Wilmington facilities, as well as a few equipment additions. Some of these changes support the increased efficiency or utilization of certain units, some add new capabilities and some establish new connections between certain units to create a more modern, efficient processing configuration. All upgrades and modifications to existing Carson and Wilmington equipment are designed to ensure the refinery’s overall transportation fuels production capability is maintained after the retirement of the Wilmington FCC unit.
The proposed project also includes construction of two crude oil storage tanks to replace two smaller tanks at the Wilmington facility and the addition of up to six new crude oil storage tanks at the Carson Crude Terminal. Most of the refinery’s crude oil arrives by marine vessel. These larger tanks will reduce marine vessel emissions at the Port of Long Beach by enabling vessels to unload their cargoes more efficiently. Marine vessels will be able to make deliveries in one dock visit, rather than making multiple trips in and out of the harbor and waiting at sea in between until more storage space becomes available.
All new and updated equipment will use Best Available Control Technology (BACT), meaning the equipment is designed to emit the least amount of emissions possible. As a result of the proposed project, the integrated refinery’s crude oil and feedstock processing capability is expected to increase slightly, by approximately two percent, or 6,000 barrels per day. The project does not include equipment modifications capable of increasing the refinery’s overall throughput capacity beyond this small amount, and it does not expand the property boundaries of either facility or the refinery as a whole. Nearly all equipment modifications and additions will be constructed within our existing property boundaries.
Tesoro will physically connect our adjacent Wilmington and Carson refining facilities by constructing pipelines that will be used to transfer materials between the two facilities. Portions of the pipelines will be welded together as a pipeline bundle and routed underground through a bore that crosses underneath South Alameda St. and East Sepulveda Blvd. The entry and exit points for the bore will be within the refinery’s existing property boundaries. Up to 15 new pipelines will be included in the pipeline bundle.
Each pipeline weld will be x-rayed for integrity and each pipeline will be pressure-tested and leak-tested before and after installation. Advanced corrosion-control technology and sophisticated monitoring and leak detection equipment will be installed to help ensure safe and reliable operations.
Advanced Corrosion-Control Technology
- Use of heavy-wall pipe with extra corrosion allowance
- Cathodic protection on all pipelines to prevent corrosion
- Fusion-bonded epoxy anti-corrosion coating on all underground pipelines, covered by additional abrasion-resistance coating
Sophisticated Monitoring and Leak Detection Equipment
- Flow meters installed on both ends of each pipeline in the bundle
- Automatic Emergency Isolation Valves (EIVs) installed on both ends of each pipeline in the bundle
- A pigging station installed at each end of the bundle enables periodic instrumented inspections of each pipeline for integrity evaluation and early detection of anomalies
Tesoro and Tesoro Logistics own and operate a network of more than 3,500 miles of crude oil, refined products and natural gas pipelines in the mid-continent and western United States. We are committed to the safe construction and maintenance, operation, and monitoring of all of our pipelines.
Wilmington Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Unit Retirement
The proposed project will reduce local emissions from the Los Angeles Refinery mainly by retiring the Wilmington FCC unit, often called a “cat cracker,” and more consistently operating the newer, more efficient Carson FCC unit at full capacity. The proposed project does not increase the throughput capability of the Carson FCC unit, and the refinery’s overall transportation fuels production capability will not change.
Once certain integration elements of the project are completed, Tesoro will retire the Wilmington FCC unit. At this point, the equipment will be permanently removed from service, left in place and maintained for safety as needed. We will relinquish all relevant Wilmington FCC unit operating permits to the SCAQMD.