COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (KDVR) — Suncor has begun to restart one of its three fuel plants as it works to repair equipment at the Commerce City refinery, which is expected to remain out of service into March.
Suncor warned of increased flaring, noise and traffic while efforts to repair and begin a “progressive restart” of Plant 2 are underway.
“We are taking precautions to ensure these disruptions are kept to a minimum,” the company said in a statement Thursday.
Suncor said it is “continuously monitoring air quality,” and the data can be viewed online. The company also pointed to its new fenceline monitoring system that tracks emissions of benzene, hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen sulfide and is posted in “near real-time” on a bilingual website.
Suncor announced its closure in late December, blaming extreme winter weather for equipment damage. Around that time, fires were reported, hurting two employees.
Alarms were again triggered at the shuttered refinery on Jan. 31 because of a gas leak. Suncor has said that should not affect the reopening timeline.
The company said it continues to investigate what led to the shutdown. The December incidents happened as Colorado saw a wave of extreme arctic cold that also affected a large swath of the U.S.
“We appreciate the patience of our neighbors and all residents of Colorado who rely on our products as we work through our repair programs and safely return our facility to normal operations,” Suncor said in a statement.
Regulatory relief during Suncor shutdown
Suncor makes up 35-40% of the gasoline and diesel market, the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association has said.
Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order that pulls back on some regulations in an attempt to lessen the impact on the fuel supply.
“Such regulatory relief includes but is not limited to trucking hours, truck weight limits and streamlined pipeline transporting regulations,” the governor’s office has said.
Polis’ office said the governor has also been in contact with several major petroleum companies to help fill gaps in the supply chain, including Suncor, Marathon, Chevron, Phillips 66, Valero and Sinclair.