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ConocoPhillips To Offset Emissions In Exchange For Refinery Expansion

ConocoPhillips has agreed to an “unprecedented global warming reduction plan” to off-set greenhouse gases caused by the expansion of its Northern California oil refinery, according to California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Under the agreement (PDF), ConocoPhillips will fund a $7 million program that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will use to support offset projects, fund $2.8 million for reforestation efforts in California, and provide $200,000 for restoration of the San Pablo wetlands.

Brown said that the oil company has agreed to offset greenhouse gas emission increases until the carbon-cutting regulations of AB 32 take effect in 2012.

ConocoPhillips has proposed an oil refinery expansion at its Rodeo facility in Contra Costa County, including a hydrogen plant to make cleaner-burning gasoline and diesel fuels from the heavy portion of crude oil. Brown appealed to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, challenging the environmental documentation for the project and the failure to mitigate the increased greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the operation of the hydrogen plant.

The Attorney General said he would now withdraw the state’s appeal based on the significant greenhouse gas emission offsets agreed to by ConocoPhillips.

Brown added, “Under this unprecedented global warming reduction plan, ConocoPhillips becomes the first oil company in America to off-set greenhouse gas emissions from a refinery expansion project. This is a breakthrough.”
In addition to the $10 million in funding, ConocoPhillips will conduct an energy efficiency audit at Rodeo to identify feasible energy efficiency measures, and shut down the calciner at the Santa Maria facility, which ConocoPhillips estimates emitted 70,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually.

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