Oil refinery greenhouse gas standards

We regulate air pollution, including greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. We require Washington's oil refineries to make their operation more efficient and cut carbon 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 reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (carbon pollution) by 10 percent by 2025.

The energy efficiency rating requires each refinery to:

  • Improve efficiency to at least the top 50 percent 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.

Each refinery must:

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

Why do refineries have requirements to reduce emissions?

In 2011, a federal district court in Washington Environmental Council v. Sturdevant, 834 F.Supp.2d 1209 (W.D. Wn. 2011) decided that state rules required Ecology to establish reasonable control standards for greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries. The Washington Clean Air Act requires that we adopt a rule when a Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) decision affects three or more sources. The control standards establish minimum statewide requirements for an existing source. The court ordered Ecology 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.