Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, is considering retiring its flexicoker at the Martinez refinery northeast of San Francisco. The shutdown would decrease the plant’s reliance on heavy oils and cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 15%, said a Shell spokeswoman on May 16.
Shell is considering the shutdown in the wake of the record volumes of light oil that are being unleashed vis-à-vis fracing and horizontal drilling from shale formations across the middle of the US.
Many refineries are working to bring more shale oil to their US West Coast plants. Chevron’s Richmond refinery has applied for a project to increase capacity at their fluid catalytic cracker’s hydrotreater to run lighter crudes. In March 2014, record volumes of shale oil arrived in California by rail.