Management at the Torrance Refinery is committed to this mission. This mission includes producing the cleanest gasoline in the world that significantly reduces automobile tailpipe emissions. And we don't stop there. We continually look for new technologies to improve the refining process and our environmental performance. Over the years, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in refinery upgrades to decrease refinery emissions while increasing process reliability.
While every element of the environment is important to us, we concentrate our efforts on air, water and waste minimization programs. Our employees devote their attention to addressing environmental issues by ensuring that we adhere to thousands of strict federal, state and local environmental requirements, and by looking for ways to reduce pollution beyond limits set by regulation.
Clearing the air
Keeping the South Bay's ocean breezes clean is a priority to ExxonMobil. We are in constant search of new ways to build and operate cleaner equipment. In fact, due to the addition of new pollution control equipment in 2000, emissions to the air from the refinery decreased 43 percent between 1999 and 2000.
A Selective Catalytic Reducer (SCR) was proactively added to the refinery's Fluid Catalytic Converter, the first application of its kind in the United States, significantly reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. This reduction is accomplished by routing exhaust gas through the SCR, which is similar to the catalytic converter that is used to remove emissions from automobile exhaust. An additional benefit of this technology is the consumption of ammonia, resulting in a significant reduction in ammonia emissions.
Although the sight of the refinery flares in operation may cause concern, we want to assure you that the flare system is a device used to enhance the environmental performance and safe operation of the refinery. Materials from the refining process are routed to the flare system, which acts as a relief valve for the refinery. There, the liquid and vapors are combined with steam and burned off. This system ensures maximum combustion of hydrocarbons while minimizing emissions into the air.
Recycled Water Means a Cleaner Ocean
One of Southern California's most valued natural treasures is the ocean, and we are doing our part to protect it. The Torrance Refinery uses almost 10 million gallons of water per day during normal refining operations. To conserve natural resources, water from the Los Angeles basin that would normally be discharged to the ocean is piped to the refinery and treated in our on-site reclaimed water facility for its reuse. Since the installation of the reclaimed water facility in 1998, the refinery has increased its use of recycled water by over 80 percent.
Additional environmental information