Oil refinery greenhouse gas standards

We regulate air pollution, including that from greenhouse gases. We require oil refineries to make their operations more efficient and to work to cut pollution.

Oil refineries reduce carbon pollution

Oil refineries are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. There are five refineries in Washington:

  • BP Cherry Point in Blaine
  • Phillips 66 in Ferndale
  • Shell Oil in Anacortes
  • Tesoro in Anacortes
  • U.S. Oil in Tacoma

Refineries are required to maintain an above-average efficiency rating or to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, carbon pollution, by 10% by 2025.

The energy-efficiency rating requires each refinery to:

  • Improve efficiency to at least the top 50% of similar-sized U.S refineries.
  • Demonstrate this efficiency through the Solomon Energy Intensity Index®  scoring system. The index compares actual energy consumption at a petroleum refinery to energy consumption at similarly-sized refineries in the U.S.

Refinery requirements

  • Report efficiency each year until they have demonstrated compliance with one of the options.
  • Maintain supporting records for five years after the last report.

Refinery greenhose-gas rules

In 2011, the federal Western District of Washington court, in the case Washington Environmental Council v. Sturdevant, decided that state rules required us to establish reasonable control standards for greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries.

The Washington Clean Air Act requires that we work to adopt a rule whenever a reasonably available control technology, often called RACT, decision affects three or more sources. The control standards establish minimum statewide requirements for an existing source.The court ordered us to adopt a rule by May 2014. 

A benefit of the refinery greenhouse-gas rule is that less carbon pollution will be released into the air. Refineries also will save money, use less water, and generate less waste.