EPA regulations in oil and gas refineries

There are numerous EPA regulations governing oil refineries, including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. When oil refineries fail to comply with government safety regulations, they can put people, natural resources and property at risk. These violations can lead to shut downs, fines or other penalties.

As you may know, a refinery in St. Croix received a lot of press coverage for its violations. In May 2021, the EPA shut down the oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands after a series of chemical releases made nearby residents sick and rained oil. A recent EPA inspection found that equipment corrosion at the refinery presented a risk of fire, explosion or other catastrophic releases of hazardous substances. Inspectors found corrosion on process valves, flanges, pipes, nuts, bolts and pressure relief devices. The refinery cannot resume operations without obtaining a new comprehensive Clean Air Act permit, called a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit.

Earlier this year, the EPA penalized a Southern California refinery for violating oil spill prevention requirements that endangered Los Angeles waterways. The issues included failure to implement tank and facility inspections and failure to inspect and conduct integrity tests on tanks.

Because oil refineries are prone to corrosion, protective measures have to be taken to comply with safety regulations. Corrosion mitigation methods include the use of corrosion inhibitors, cathodic protection and protective coatings. To be effective, industrial paints and protective coatings must be properly chosen and applied, typically by an AMPP certified coating specialist. Certified professionals can provide guidance on the appropriate coatings for specific situations, such as salt air, chemicals, toxins, acidic and alkaline environments.

To learn more about government regulations related to oil refineries, the EPA has multiple webpages, including  Oil Spills Prevention and Preparedness Regulations, Oil and Gas Extraction Sector regulations, and Clean Air Act Standards and Guidelines for Petroleum Refineries and Distribution Industry.

FSN has certified industrial coating contractors available to work on oil refineries. Contact us today at (410) 564-5876 or sales@FinishingSolutionsNetwork.com for more information.