Improved technology and environmental performance go hand-in-hand. Here are a few of the projects we are currently constructing to further reduce our environmental footprint.
During October 2010, we began installing a dehexanizer distillation column as part of $100 million investment to reduce benzene levels in our gasoline. Once commissioned, this unit will lower the content of benzene (a Volatile Organic Compound) by 30 percent, which will meet pending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. This cleaner gasoline product will be available by 2011.
Since 2006, Irving Oil has blended 10 percent ethanol with ultra-low sulphur gasoline at our marine terminal facilities in Massachusetts and Maine, supplying markets throughout the U.S. Northeast. In 2011, Irving Oil will be adding ethanol blending capability into our regular (87 Octane) gasoline at the Saint John Refinery truck rack operations. The 10 percent ethanol blended gasoline, or E10, is approved for use in any make or model vehicle sold in North America. This change will comply with upcoming Canadian renewable fuels regulations.
Fuel Gas Containment
This project to contain and recycle fuel gas, a by-product of the refining process, is on track for completion by spring 2011. Once complete, this $60 million investment will allow fuel gas to be recycled as an efficient energy source for other refinery units as well as fuel the production of heat or steam for the refining process.
Vapour Recovery Unit
We are also investing in environmental technology at our marine terminals. In order to reduce volatile organic compound (VOCs) emissions at our East Saint John Terminal, we are currently constructing a vapour recovery unit. Once commissioned by early 2011, the unit is anticipated to recover up to 90 percent of VOC emissions when loading gasoline at the terminal.