We are dedicated to preventing pollution, complying with all laws and the terms of our permits, evaluating and adopting appropriate pollution controls, and closely monitoring and controlling our emissions.
Nitrogen Oxides (NOX)
NOX is a by-product of combustion and is generated while burning fuels to produce heat, steam and electricity. Boilers and furnaces in our chemical and refining operations are the source of most of our NOX emissions. Since 2010, we have made significant progress, reducing NOX emissions by over 1,500 metric tons—which is equivalent to taking 185,000 cars off the road for a year. This was achieved by installing more advanced clean-burning technologies at our sites. However, in 2017 our NOX emissions increased by 523 metric tons due to restart of operations at our sites in Morris, Illinois, in the U.S., and Berre l’Etang in France following 2016 maintenance turnarounds, as well as the expansion of production capacity in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the U.S.
Sulfur Oxides (SOX)
In our operations, SOX emissions come from burning fuel which contains small amounts of sulfur, and from the process of removing sulfur from fuel products at our Houston refinery. In 2017, our SOX emissions totaled 1,589 metric tons, representing a 17% decrease from 2016. This was due to improved operations at the Houston refinery, and from using more natural gas, instead of liquid fuel, at our Berre l’Etang facility in France.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are associated with the chemicals and fuels we handle and produce, and are released into the atmosphere during chemical and fuel production. VOCs can be released through tiny leaks from pump seals, valves and other equipment. We have extensive programs in place, including using infrared camera technology, to identify these small leaks and repair them. From 2016 to 2017, our VOC emissions decreased by approximately 2% to 8,097 metric tons. This was due to fewer shutdowns and turnarounds at our sites in 2017, along with equipment upgrades.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
CO is produced when fuels are burned to produce heat, steam and electricity. The majority of our CO emissions come from burning natural gas at our chemical and refining operations. From 2016 to 2017, our CO emissions decreased by approximately 3% to 5,301 metric tons due to equipment upgrades.
Particulate Matter (PM)
PM refers to small airborne particulates emitted during production, primarily from cooling towers and burning fuel. Since 2012, we have worked to reduce these emissions by improving heaters and furnace operations. In 2017, we also upgraded the cooling towers at our site in LaPorte, Texas, USA, reducing PM emissions at that facility. However, from 2016 to 2017, our total PM emissions increased by approximately 3% to 1,305 metric tons.