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Acid Plant Database  April 11, 2017

Owner Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co.

Tesoro-Logo.png (58504 bytes)

Location 150 Solano Way
Martinez, California
USA  94553-1465
Background At the end of 2001, Valero Energy Corporation acquired Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corporation with sulfuric acid plants in refineries at Dumas (McKee refinery), Tex. ; Wilmington , Calif. and Martinez , Calif.  Valero then sold the Martinez refinery to Tesoro Petroleum in May, 2002.
Website www.tsocorp.com
Plant Golden Eagle Refinery
Coordinates 38º 1' 29" N, 122º 3' 25" W
Type of Plant Acid Regeneration
Gas Source Alkylation Waste Acid
Hydrogen Sulphide Gas
Plant Capacity 435.4 MTPD (480 STPD)
158,939 MTPA (175200 STPA) (365 d/a)
SA/DA 3/1 DA
Emissions SO2: < 300 ppm @ 12% O2
Acid Mist: 0.15 g/kg (0.3 lb/ton)
Opacity: Ringlemann No. 1
Status Operating
Year Built -
Technology -
Contractor -
Remarks -
Permits State of California, Bay Area Air Quality Management District www.baaqmd.gov
Facility ID: B2758

Permit No.

Issue Date Expiry Date Date Modified
B2758 March 20, 2008 - -
Pictures   Tesoro-Refining-Martinez-2.JPG (2308205 bytes)
General Plant is located next to MECS catalyst manufacturing site.
References -
News March 12, 2017 - On February 12, 2014, an incident occurred at the Tesoro Refinery in Martinez, which burned two workers and released an estimated 84,000 pounds of sulfuric acid. Less than a month later, on March 10, 2014, sulfuric acid sprayed and burned two contract workers during the removal of piping. Both incidents occurred in the refinery’s alkylation unit – where high-octane blending components are produced for gasoline.

Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “The CSB urges all refineries to review the key findings and conclusions of the board’s case study and to apply those learnings to their own facilities. It is imperative that companies continually work towards improving their operations in an effort to prevent future incidents and ensure the safety of their workforce.”

The CSB’s case study examines the Tesoro Martinez Refinery through the evaluation of previous incidents, worker statements, gaps in safety standards, deviations from established procedures and practices, and past efforts to assess and strengthen site safety culture.

The investigation found a number of safety culture concerns at the refinery, such as:

o Characterization of the February 2014 incident as a minor injury while the incident should have been classified as the most serious type of process safety incident under industry guidelines;

o Exposure of alkylation unit workers to hazardous materials including vapors, acids, and corrosives;

o Removal of safer sulfuric acid sampling systems from service and reliance on inadequate temporary alkylation unit equipment;

o Failure to provide alkylation unit workers with necessary protective equipment;

o Existence of site-specific safety policies that were less protective than corporate policies and established industry good practice;

o Failure to develop an action plan to address concerns identified in a 2007 safety culture survey;

o Withdrawal from key national safety programs that workers believed were effective; and

o Perceived pressure on alkylation unit workers to expedite training and reduce cost.

The state of California has issued a draft refinery process safety management standard containing more rigorous safety regulations for the oversight of petroleum refineries, and the CSB is encouraged by these proactive changes to improve safety for workers and communities. The CSB’s case study underscores the need for the proposed refinery safety reforms as well as individual refineries to continually assess and improve their process safety programs.  The CSB’s case study emphasizes that regulators can use what are known as lagging process safety indicators, such as spills, fires, or gas releases, as well as leading indicators such as timely maintenance on safety critical equipment to focus inspections, audits, and timely closure of action items resulting from incident investigations to help drive process safety improvement.  “The continued recurrence of sulfuric acid incidents demonstrates the need for improvements at the Tesoro refinery. We recommend that the refinery report process safety indicators to the regulator, said Lead Investigator Dan Tillema. “Regulators should monitor these indicators and conduct preventive inspections that lead to corrective actions –this is a critical component of an effective safety program – the ultimate goal is to ensure that risk is continually reduced.”  www.satprnews.com

July 18, 2016 - Oil company Tesoro Corp. and its subsidiaries have agreed to purchase eco-friendly, low-emission buses for a Contra Costa County school district as part of a big nationwide settlement over alleged air pollution, federal officials announced Monday.The total $425 million payout by Tesoro and Par Hawaii Refining — which acquired its refinery on Oahu from Tesoro in 2013 — follows accusations of Clean Air Act violations at six refineries, including the Martinez Refinery, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.Under the legal agreement, Tesoro will spend $24 million to better control leaks, flaring and other sources of harmful emissions at the Bay Area plant as well as pay $1 million for the replacement of old diesel buses at the Mount Diablo Unified School District.  The four or more new buses will run on compressed natural gas, reducing particulate matter and greenhouse gases spewed into the air.“EPA remains committed to ensuring companies take responsibility for protecting public health and the environment,” said Alexis Strauss, the agency’s acting regional administrator, in a statement.  Nationwide, the settlement calls for $403 million in new pollution-control equipment at refineries in Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Utah, Washington and California. The upgrades are expected to cut the annual emission of sulfur dioxide by 773 tons, nitrogen oxides by 407 tons and volatile organic compounds by 1,140 tons.Tesoro will also pay a civil penalty of $10.5 million, the EPA said.The company has a record of run-ins with air quality regulators at its Martinez plant. Within the past year, Tesoro has twice agreed to pay to settle charges of pollution at the facility for a cumulative $4.5 million. The latest allegations include problems with the refinery’s coker unit, fluid catalytic cracking unit, sulfuric acid plant, sulfur pit and flaring operations.  Tesoro officials said in an email that most of the upgrades required under the settlement have been completed or are under way. The company did not admit liability in the alleged violations.

August 19, 2014 - In a report published last Friday, the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said that loose pipe fittings caused the 84,000 pound sulfuric acid spill that seriously injured two workers at Tesoro’s Golden Eagle refinery on February 12.  Golden Eagle is located in Martinez, California, about 35 mile northwest of San Francisco.  The report was prepared by California engineering and laboratory testing firm Anamet Inc.  The report details findings from an examination of a stainless-steel tube assembly recovered from the accident site by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).  The report said that the tubes and a compression joint at the sulfuric acid sampling station were not sufficiently tightened during installation.  The tubes were shaken loose from the compression joint when they were pressurized.  Cal/OSHA closed down the Golden Eagle alkylation unit from February 18 to 28.  Employees told Cal/OSHA that they had been afraid to work in the unit before the accident because of safety concerns.  “This incident highlights the need for strong process safety management at facilities that ensures mechanical integrity is verified prior to the introduction of hazardous chemicals into equipment,” CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said.  Moure-Eraso said the need for safety management is pressing because of another sulfuric acid spill at the same refinery on March 10.  Two contract workers were sprayed with sulfuric acid while conducting planned maintenance during that incident.  “Four workers burned by sulfuric acid in less than a month clearly demonstrates there are significant opportunities within the refinery for improvement in safety performance,” Moure-Eraso said.  Cal/OSHA is continuing a separate investigation at the refinery, focusing on the refinery’s mechanical integrity and operating procedures.  The Golden Eagle refinery has a crude oil capacity of 166,000 barrels per day and employees 650 people.  San-Antonio based Tesoro is an independent downstream company.  Tesero has not commented on the report. (Petro Global News)

March 10, 2014 - On 12 February, two workers at the Golden Eagle (GE) plant owned by Tesoro Corporation in Martinez, California suffered severe facial burns early in the morning after a pipe containing sulfuric acid burst, spraying acid. After being airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Sacramento, California, the two received treatment for first-and second-degree facial burns. They were released that day.  The next day, CEO Gregory Goff forced three US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) investigators to leave after Tesoro’s lawyers raised “jurisdictional challenges.” Although Tesoro eventually allowed investigators back on site on February 28, the location of the accident was already back in production, hindering any investigation. CSB’s three-member board is alleging several violations of federal law governing safety at GE, including “refusing to permit the CSB to return to the site, refusing to preserve the site, prohibiting the conduct of certain interviews and indicating [non-compliance] with a duly issued document subpoena.”  The GE refinery, also known as the Avon refinery, produces motor fuels, such as cleaner burning California Air Resources Board (CARB) gasoline and CARB diesel fuel, as well as conventional gasoline and diesel fuel.  According to its web site, the GE refinery employs 700 full-time workers and produces 166,000 barrels per day. It is the second largest refinery in Northern California and is only one of many oil refineries that the Fortune 100 company, Tesoro, operates.  Tesoro is the 24th largest source of air pollution in the United States, releasing roughly 3,740,000 lb (1,700 t) of toxic chemicals annually into the air.  The Environmental Protection Agency named Tesoro as the culprit in the creation of four Superfund or Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act toxic waste sites, all of which have destroyed the surrounding environment.  In November 2013 a worker suffered facial burns from sulfuric acid during repairs on a leaking acid pipe, after earlier makeshift repairs with a clamp failed.  Almost a month before the previous injury, the US Chemical Safety Board called Tesoro’s safety culture “deficient” in a draft report following a 2010 explosion that killed seven workers at a Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington.Then on February 9—three days before the sulfuric acid burst—a minor fire broke out. The company sought deliberately to downplay the significance of this event.  Less than a day after the February 12 injuries, the California Environmental Protection Agency, together with the California Department of Industrial Relations, issued a news release announcing the publication of the Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety’s final report “outlining recommendations to improve public and worker safety at and near the state’s oil refineries.”  “A task force has already begun overseeing implementation of many recommendations and will continue meeting regularly to ensure the report’s goals are met,” the report stated. The news release, however, did not mention the recent or previous sulfuric acid burst or the recent fire at the GE refinery.On February 18, almost a week later, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) within the State of California Department of Industrial Relations ordered Tesoro to shut down the section of the refinery where the two workers received their injuries, pending an investigation.  This investigation found violations of state regulations for injury and illness prevention and safe handling of hazardous materials.  In the report, workers noted that they have continually expressed concerns over their safety, explaining that sulfuric acid leaks in the dangerously thin pipes occur “all the time.”  In fact, only than four days after the two workers’ injuries, the same pipe burst again, exposing workers yet again to the same sulfuric acid leaks. As the report stated: “The piping came apart in the exact same spot as it did during the accident.”Suffering from massive cuts to its pool of inspectors, the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) employs only 2,200 inspectors for enforcing the safety of 130 million workers in America—i.e., no more than one inspector per every 59,000 workers, a figure which is expected to worsen as a result of bipartisan budget cuts. This renders OSHA structurally incapable of actually enforcing regulations, let alone carrying out “reviews,” however meaningless they may be.  Elizabeth Watters, a Tesoro company spokeswoman, sought to downplay the significance of the workers’ injuries, describing the sulfuric acid burst as a “minor chemical release” that left the two workers with “minor chemical burns.”  “We were surprised when the Chemical Safety Board notified the company that the agency intended to deploy a team to investigate, as the (board) is not charged with investigating a personal safety incident that did not result in serious injuries or substantial property damage,” Watters said.  Watters did not mention that the workers burned in the latest incident had not been issued the specialized equipment required by law to protect the face and body from acid burns.  The recent disaster at GE is only one in a long, uninterrupted string of industrial disasters in the United States. Among the most significant of recent incidents was the West Virginia chemical spill. In that case, Freedom Industries filed bankruptcy after the spill to avoid all responsibility for contaminating the water of 300,000 West Virginians.  After having shielded companies responsible for environment and workplace disasters (most significantly, BP) Obama has championed the fact that his administration has eliminated regulations, giving a green light for companies like Tesoro to violate safety codes.  With the collusion of Washington and both big business parties, large multi-billion dollar companies like Tesoro are left free to engage in unsafe business practices, let its infrastructure rot, act with impunity, pollute or contaminate the air or water in its environs, injure, maim, or kill workers—in short, go about the world wreaking havoc.

November 12, 2010 - Eighty-four gallons of sulfuric acid leaking from a tank into a concrete basin at the Golden Eagle refinery capped a rough couple of weeks for Tesoro on Friday.  The spill, which was first reported just before 11:30 a.m., has been contained and there are expected to be no off-site impacts, according to the Bay City News Service. 

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth