What does Suncor do at the Commerce City Refinery and within Colorado?
Suncor’s U.S. subsidiary, Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc., owns and operates the Commerce City Refinery, providing locally-sourced fuel to the businesses and residents in the Rocky Mountain Region. Another U.S. subsidiary, Suncor Energy Sales Inc., owns or leases 44 gas and diesel stations within the state.
The Commerce City Refinery is the only refining facility in Colorado and processes local crude – including crude from the Denver-Julesburg Basin – and turns it into critical products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and paving asphalt for the Colorado market.
What are Suncor’s other operations outside of the United States?
Suncor is a Canadian company, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. We operate primarily in Canada, with offshore assets in the United Kingdom and Norway, and focus on responsibly developing petroleum resources while also growing a renewable energy portfolio. Our operations include oil sands development and upgrading, offshore oil and gas production, and petroleum refining and product marketing. We also have a renewable energy business with the Forty Mile Wind Power Project, which includes four wind power farms that have a total capacity of 111 megawatts in operation, and Canada’s largest ethanol facility with a production capacity of 400 million liters (or over 105 million gallons) per year.
How long has Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. had a presence in Colorado?
Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. has played an important role in Colorado’s energy portfolio for more than 15 years. In 2003 and 2005, Suncor acquired three plants from ConocoPhillips and Valero respectively, which now comprise the Commerce City Refinery. In addition, Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. supplies fuel to more than 225 Shell, Exxon, and Mobil sites in Colorado and Wyoming. Of these sites, 44 are company-owned or leased in Colorado, serving about 15 million people each year.
How does the refinery benefit the local economy?
Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. plays an essential role in Colorado, providing an estimated economic value of $2.5 billion USD per year to the state. Our local operations keep costs down for customers and provide significant tax revenue to Commerce City, Adams County, and Colorado.
How many people does Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. employ in the state?
We employ more than 500 hard-working Coloradans at our refinery, corporate office in downtown Denver, and pipeline operations. We also help support more than 5,000 indirect jobs within Colorado generated through our business with a total payroll impact of more than $250 million to the local economy.
Where does Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. sell products produced at the Commerce City Refinery?
Our products are made in Colorado, for Colorado. Nearly 95% of products processed at the Commerce City Refinery are sold within the state, particularly in the Denver Metro area, Colorado Springs, and to rapidly growing areas like Grand Junction and the Western Slope.
What does Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc.’s investment of $300 million over the next few years mean for the operations at the refinery?
Over the next several years, we’ll invest approximately $300 million to improve the overall operating performance of the refinery. Much of the work will occur during scheduled maintenance or turnarounds. Typically, during a turnaround, we require additional workers over a 30 to 45-day period and can employ approximately 800 to 1000 additional contractors to complete the turnaround work.
How much tax revenue does Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. contribute to Colorado overall, every year?
Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc.’s operations and fuel sales have generated over $200 million in Colorado state, county, and municipal taxes over the past five years, averaging approximately $40 million annually.
- More than $55 million in property taxes to Adams County, averaging approximately $11 million annually, and
- More than $20 million in sales and use tax to Commerce City, averaging approximately $4 million annually.
What are turnarounds and how do they impact the local economy?
The refinery’s turnarounds are large and complex projects that involve planned maintenance and capital investment projects across the facility. Turnarounds typically take two to three years to plan, can cost between $50 and $90 million, and are executed over a period of 30 to 45 days using 800 to 1000 contractors. The $300 million is focused on turnarounds and other improvement projects. The investments are about making the refinery better, not bigger.
What regulations or standards does the refinery have to follow to operate in Colorado?
The Commerce City Refinery is a heavily regulated facility in the State of Colorado, and our environmental performance is transparent and reported. Our complex operations are subject to dozens of statutes, hundreds of regulations, thousands of environmental limits, and oversight by multiple state and federal agencies. We monitor approximately thousands of emissions points on a regularly scheduled basis and file monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and/or annual reports with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). These agencies also conduct audits of the refinery and its programs on a regular basis.
We work with the EPA and CDPHE to ensure that our Commerce City Refinery is properly permitted. When there are any new changes in regulation, we work with regulators to ensure we can promptly meet the requirements. Learn more about the air and water regulations that apply to the refinery. In addition to environmental regulations and reporting requirements, we are also regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and receive inspections periodically.
How does Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. ensure it is operating within regulatory limits?
Operating within regulatory limits is of the utmost importance to us. Once we receive a new or modified permit, we set our operations parameters to achieve the permit conditions. We then continually monitor our operations and emissions, and we promptly report to the appropriate agencies if and when any issues arise. In 2021, the community will be able to opt-in to receive messages about the refinery’s activities. Visit the air and water safety sections of this site for detailed information related to community air monitoring and emissions, permits, PFAS, wastewater treatment, and work at Sand Creek.
What do standard refinery operations include?
We place safety above all else at the Commerce City Refinery, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Learn more about activities that are part of normal, day-to-day operations at a refinery, such as flaring, steam, fire training, and maintenance activity.
What has Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. done to prepare for an emergency at the Commerce City Refinery?
The Commerce City Refinery has an on-site emergency response team that is fully trained to manage any issues that arise. They regularly participate in exercises and drills to plan, prepare, and test emergency responses. Additionally, we are a member of several local emergency response planning committees in both Colorado and neighboring Wyoming, as well as participants in regular meetings with local community leaders to manage any safety concerns.
In early 2020, Suncor began a process to improve the way we communicate with the surrounding community about incidents at the refinery. We did this in response to feedback from the community, as well as to meet the requirements of an agreement with CDPHE and Colorado House Bill 20-1265. Beginning on January 1, 2021, we will use the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to notify the community about hazardous conditions or emergent events that threaten lives or property. Throughout 2021, we will add ways to inform the community about other types of incidents and emissions exceedances, including those that may seem alarming, but are not emergencies that require immediate action.
What safety measures does the refinery have in place to protect on-site employees?
We believe safety above all else is essential. As such, we promote safety conversations and participation through a variety of activities and processes, including:
- Incident management
- Serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention
- Life Saving Rules
- Technology enablement
- Journey to Zero
We also prioritize the safety, health, wellness, and psychological safety and mental health of both our employees and contractors.
In addition, we employ several rigorous programs to proactively support the safe operation of the refinery. These include our mechanical integrity and quality assurance program, reliability improvement plan, and process hazard analysis program. Together, these programs enable us to proactively maintain and improve the integrity and reliability of our refinery, meet industry codes and practices, and prevent the release of hazardous chemicals.
When is your Title V permit due for renewal?
We submitted a renewal application for the Plant 2 Title V permit in 2010. Learn more about this operating permit in our Air Safety section. For more information on public notices for permits, visit CDPHE’s website.