To learn more about our refineries, click on the locations on the maps below.
Our Refining segment processes crude oil and other feedstocks into petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. Phillips 66 has 14 refineries and a net crude oil processing capacity of 2.2 million barrels per day (MMBD).
Phillips 66’s Refining strategy centers on operating excellence, maintaining cost and capital discipline, and increasing margins through selective investment. We have opportunities across our system for low-cost, high-return projects that are planned to either increase the value of the products we make or lower the cost of feedstocks. Examples of these projects: At the Wood River Refinery, we have debottlenecking and yield improvement projects underway that are scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2016. At the Bayway Refinery, we are upgrading our fluid catalytic cracking unit to state-of-the-art technology, which will result in increased yields of gasoline and diesel. We expect this modernization to be finished in 2018. In addition, the Billings Refinery is increasing its heavy Canadian crude run ability to 100 percent, with an expected completion in the first half of 2017.
WHY DO REFINERIES HAVE FLARES?
A flare system is essentially a safety relief valve for a refinery. Refinery flare stacks provide a safe way to prevent over-pressuring of equipment in the refinery, just as a pressure relief valve does for a home hot water heater or a pressure cooker. Flare stacks may rise more than 200 feet above a refinery and are among its most visible aspects. While a flame burning at the top of a flare stack may seem alarming, we want to assure our neighbors that occasional flaring is normal and an important part of keeping a refinery running safely.
HOW DO FLARES WORK?
The flare safely burns excess hydrocarbon gases that cannot be recovered or recycled. During flaring, the excess gases are combined with steam and safely burned in the flare. This is safer and more environmentally sound than releasing the hydrocarbons directly into the atmosphere.
During normal refinery operations, hydrocarbons are refined, collected and routed for further processing into products such as gasoline. When the refinery experiences a process interruption, such as an unplanned loss of power, the system may be unable to send the hydrocarbons through for further refining. Flares are also used to ensure safety during the startup and shutdown of refinery equipment when gases generated by those processes cannot be safely recycled into the refinery. In both cases, the excess hydrocarbons are routed to the refinery flare system where they are combined with steam and safely burned. Combining the excess hydrocarbons with steam ensures maximum combustion and minimizes emissions.
Similar to the pilot light on a household gas stove or hot water heater, a small flame at the top of the flare burns continuously, ensuring the system is ready for immediate use. Depending upon the construction of the flare, weather conditions, and ambient lighting, the pilot flame may or may not be visible from the ground. When flaring occurs, the flame and noise level will increase due to the increased volume and pressure of the gases being burned by the flare. Refinery operators continuously monitor the flare system to minimize noise and smoke levels, while still burning the gases cleanly and safely.
You can learn more about the important role flares play in the daily operational safety of refineries and their communities with this flare fact sheet.
At Phillips 66, our commitment to safety is a core value. Flaring is one way our refineries manage the safety of our operations, employees, surrounding communities and the environment.