Jerry Brown announces greenhouse gas reduction plan

ConocoPhillips Co. has agreed to a $10 million plan to offset greenhouse gases caused by the expansion of its Rodeo oil refinery in Contra Costa County, California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced at a news conference today in San Francisco.

“Nobody, nowhere has even thought of doing this — that is how big this is,” Brown said.

The $600,000 project expanding the ConocoPhillips refinery will initially emit about 500,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.

The project is designed to use the heavy gas oil that is already produced at the Rodeo refinery and that is being sold in the fuel oil market to instead produce cleaner-burning gasoline and diesel fuels.

“We are very proud of this project and think it will be good for the people and the state of California,” Rand Swenson, Rodeo refinery manager, said today.

To offset these emissions the company plans to do things that include paying $7 million to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to support local offset projects; $2.8 million for reforestation efforts in California; and $200,000 for restoration of the San Pablo wetlands.

Additionally, the company plans to audit all of its California refineries and identify all greenhouse gas emission sources and reduction opportunities.

The company also agrees to offset any CO2 emissions in excess of 500,000 metric tons per year from the hydrogen unit if it increases its use of hydrogen. The project is eventually expected to emit about 1.25 million metric tons of CO2 per year.

“This is not only unprecedented, but it is a real breakthrough,” Brown said.

The oil company has agreed to offset greenhouse gas emission increases until the carbon-cutting regulations of AB32 take effect in 2012.

The legislation, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, commits the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

“The only way AB32 will be implemented will be if cities and counties begin now doing what they can,” Brown said.

ConocoPhillips, the second-largest refiner in the U.S., operates in more than 40 countries.

— Bay City News

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