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Chevron’s Alternative Of Steel In Richmond Refinery Fix Questioned

The choice of metal for brand new pipes at the fire-broken Chevron oil refinery in Richmond might complicate restoration of the plant to full gas manufacturing.

A Chevron representative said Monday that the gasoline-making plant won’t restore gear damaged in the Aug. 6 fire till regulators’ safety considerations are resolved about the corporate’s choose of a metallic alloy known as “9 chromium.”

Chevron is not going to proceed till all of the security issues have been “completely mentioned” with regulators, Barbara Smith, a Chevron refinery senior business manager, instructed the Bay Area’s air pollution board Monday at its assembly in San Francisco.

Chevron has touted the “9 chromium alloy” as an improve over the carbon petroleum refining products vancouver steel pipe that broke at the very least partly because of corrosion when exposed to excessive sulfur crude.

The smoke from the fireplace despatched 15,000 people to native hospitals with complaints of breathing problem, throat irritation and complications.

Chevron has mentioned it plans to finish refinery repairs in the primary quarter of 2013.
The federal Chemical Security Board has questions on the selections and wants solutions.

In a letter despatched Saturday to Richmond officials, the federal safety company demanded Chevron launch paperwork by Dec. 7 to clarify why it picked the chromium alloy over a stainless steel pipe touted by the American Petroleum Institute as resistant to sulfur-induced corrosion.

“The difficulty in predicting corrosion charges underscores petroleum refining products vancouver the necessity for selecting the safest materials of construction, since inspections based mostly on predictable corrosion charges may not prove to be dependable,” Rafael Moure Eraso, chairman of the federal security board, wrote.

He also stated Washington state security investigators believe that a February fireplace at a BP refinery near Cherry Point was associated to corrosion in pipe product of “9 chromium.”

“Images of the piping failure at BP,” Moure Eraso mentioned, “show a placing resemblance to the failure at Chevron.”

Within the air board meeting in San Francisco, Smith, the Chevron representative, mentioned that refiners chosen the petroleum refining products vancouver chrome alloy as the perfect all-round material.

Whereas stainless steel is regarded as effective in resisting corrosion associated to sulfur, the steel can become brittle at high temperatures, she said.

Chevron is looking for permits from the city of Richmond to repair rather than change the refiner unit broken by the fireplace.

Air pollution board administrators said it is the accountability of the town of Richmond — not the air board — to make the decision on the steel to go into the pipes.

The Richmond Metropolis Council is scheduled to discuss the Chevron restore plan at the council’s assembly at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the town Council chamber at Civic Middle Plaza and Macdonald Avenue.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at

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