July 24, 2006

Suncor completes environmental, process upgrades to Colorado refinery

Suncor Energy reports that its U.S. affiliate has completed Project Odyssey, a $445-million (U.S.) upgrade of its 90,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Commerce City, Colorado. The modifications not only allow the refinery to produce refined products meeting newly regulated emission levels for low-sulfur diesel fuel, they will improve the refinery's environmental performance. This in turn will enable the Colorado facility to process a wider range of crude oil products, including sour crude oil from Suncor's oil sands production facilities near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The upgrade has also enhanced the refinery's ability to process bitumen used in asphalt production. The Commerce City plant is the state's largest supplier of paving-grade asphalt. New U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules limit sulfur content in diesel fuel to less than 15 parts per million (ppm). Project Odyssey enables Suncor to meet this mandate.

Environment-related improvements carried out as part of the project included:

-modification of the refinery's No 2 Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU) to enable it to add oxygen and recover more sulfur following the desulfurization process.

-installation of the Tail Gas Unit (TGU) as part of a requirement to reduce the emissions from the SRU. The TGU makes both of the refinery's sulfur recovery units more efficient. Sulfur recovered in the SRU is recycled through the TGU, significantly decreasing emissions to the air.

-a new, natural gas-fuelled hydrogen plant which makes hydrogen, used in the process of removing sulfur from diesel and gasoline.

-modification of the No 3 Hydrodesulfurization (HDS) Unit to process ultra low-sulfur diesel.

-a new Sour Water Stripper, which cleans the refinery process water so it is suitable to go to the refinery's wastewater system.

-improvements to the Boiler Feedwater Treatment System. The refinery purifies water using reverse osmosis technology. The treatment system brings incoming city water up to the quality of boiler feedwater, which is used through the refinery to make steam.

More information is available from Lisha Burnett at Suncor Energy (U.S.A.), 303/793-8012.

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