Suncor Energy’s oil refinery in Commerce City released propane fumes into the air on Jan. 31 but did not violate any emission limits, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said. .
The release triggered an alert from the refinery’s public notification system. No injuries were reported in the incident, according to company alerts.
Suncor identified the propane leak as a “steam leak”. The leak occurred at a plant 1 processing unit near Brighton Boulevard, said Kate Malloy, spokeswoman for the state health department’s air pollution control division.
The unit is a piece of equipment that has been shut down since a December malfunction that forced Suncor to shut down its facility in the first three months of this year.
The unit still had pressurized gas in the system, Malloy said in an email. Suncor notified state air quality regulators that it had isolated the leak and depressurized that section of piping.
Loa Esquilin Garcia, a spokeswoman for Suncor, said the leak did not delay the company’s maintenance at the refinery or interfere with its plans to restart operations by the end of the first quarter.
“Our priority is to restart safely,” Garcia said.
Suncor shut down for the first time during an extreme cold snap on Dec. 21 that triggered its hydrogen plant. On December 24, a fire broke out at the refinery and the company decided to stop producing gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and asphalt for at least the first quarter of 2023 while she repairs equipment damaged by the cold and performs other maintenance work.
The malfunctions caused the refinery to exceed the amount of pollutants it emits into the air and water. Since December 21, the company has reported excessive emissions of hydrogen sulphide, sulfur dioxide and benzene.
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