DENVER (KDVR) — The Suncor oil and gas refinery in Commerce City has some of the highest levels of reportable incidents among similar refineries, according to a recent evaluation by ERG.
Colorado’s sole oil and gas refinery, Suncor has faced some challenges in 2023.
In late December, Suncor announced a shutdown after two employees were hurt in a fire at the refinery. Two months later, the refinery responded to a leak and extended the emergency shutdown. The refinery was also flooded after nearly three days of continuous rainfall hit the area.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency directed sustainability firm ERG to analyze the frequency of certain kinds of incidents at refineries under consent decrees. The analysis included 11 other refineries, of which Suncor has the smallest processing capacity.
“Compared to eleven other refineries from around the United States during 2016 to 2020, Suncor had the greatest number of tail gas incidents and second greatest number of acid gas flaring incidents,” the report found. “For hydrocarbon flaring incidents, Suncor was in the middle of the comparison group at the seventh greatest number of incidents out of the twelve refineries.”
The report found that Suncor’s issues stem more from equipment failures than other reasons.
“Electrical systems and level control systems (e.g., controllers, transmitters) were the two types of equipment most frequently involved in acid gas flaring and tail gas incidents,” the report reads.