Suncor to restart Colorado refinery

COMMERCE CITY, CO – MARCH 16: Suncor Refinery in Commerce City. March 16, 2017, Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

Suncor Energy plans to restart equipment this week at its oil refinery in Commerce City, Colorado following an incident last week where the plant spewed smoke and ash and released a clay-like substance.

A statement by Suncor on its Facebook page said it expects the process of restarting the fluidized catalytic cracker unit to take several days according to the Denver Post.

The statement didn’t give a specific date that it expects to fire up the unit. The company didn’t respond to an email asking if it will post another notice when the equipment is turned on.

A clay-like catalyst and smoke spewed from the refinery Dec. 11. Ash fell to the ground. The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division investigated the incident, which Suncor said was caused by adding too much gas oil during the start-up of the unit that helps produce gasoline.

Refinery workers were moved to a safe area, and community air monitoring was conducted, company officials said. Two neighborhood schools were put on a “shelter in place” alert after ash fell on cars. Commerce City police said they determined no hazard existed.

Suncor previously said the catalyst released was not hazardous, and testing showed air quality in nearby neighborhoods to be “within acceptable levels.” The company has apologized.

Increased flaring might occur and smoke might be visible for a while when the equipment is restarted, the company said. If there are any problems, Suncor said it will halt the process.

The company said it will monitor the air quality during the start-up activities.

Source: Denver Post