Phillips 66: Rodeo conversion on track for Q1 startup

By Erin Voegele | October 30, 2023

Phillips 66 on Oct. 27 confirmed the renewables conversion of its refinery in Rodeo, California, is progressing on schedule with startup expected during the first quarter of 2024. Once fully operational, the facility will have the capacity to produce more than 50,000 barrels per day (800 MMgy) of renewable fuels. 

The company made a final investment decision to move forward with the conversion project in May 2022. At that time Phillips 66 explained that the scope of the project includes the construction of pre-treatment units and the repurposing of existing hydrocracking units to enable production of renewable fuels. Once fully operational, the facility is expected to produce renewable diesel, renewable gasoline and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). 

The conversion project has been opposed by two environmental groups, which in June 2022 filed a lawsuit challenging Contra Costa County’s certification the project’s 2022 environmental impact report (EIR) and approval of the project. A Contra Costa County Superior Court judge in July 2023 remanded to the county for reconsideration three issues with the 2022 EIR and earlier this month reaffirmed that decision, allowing the land use permit to remain in place and allowing project construction activities to continue. On Oct. 24, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors issued a revised EIR, which is subject to a comment period that is open through Dec. 8. 

Rich Harbison, executive vice president of refining at Phillips 66, provided an update on the EIR during a third quarter earnings call held Oct. 27. Noting that the comment period on the revised EIR is already underway, Harbison said Contra Costa County will respond to comments following the Dec. 8 deadline and is likely to issue a final EIR in early 2024. “So right now, our project construction remains on track to complete in the first quarter, and we’re committed to that timeline,” he said, but added the company has options and would have the flexibility to continue to process crude oil at the facility in the event that circumstances beyond the company’s control prevent startup of the biorefinery.