Shell Chemical: Beyond Compliance: Marine Vapor Recovery

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Shell Chemical implemented a Marine Vapor Recovery project at its dock on Chickasaw Creek. The project involved a mile-long pipeline connecting their loading dock on Chickasaw Creek to Shell’s existing vapor recovery unit which previously serviced only their truck rack. The new pipeline allows Shell to collect the vapors during the loading of light olefin feed product onto barges. The vapors are captured and recovered back into their process to become more fuel for the community.  

A lot of brain-storming and out-of-the-box thinking was required to make this happen,” said Sarah Connell, environmental engineer with Shell Chemical. Engineers had a number of obstacles to work around and the final project came with a $4,000,000 price tag. All this for a project that was not required by existing environmental regulations.

Capturing the vapors is not required by State or Federal regulations for loading at the dock, as the loading operations do not meet the threshold volume to make the regulations applicable. However, the company wanted to be proactive regarding emissions and potential regulations.

It’s important to always be looking down the road so you know what’s coming,” said Sarah Connell, environmental engineer with Shell. “You can be ahead of the curve, so you won’t be scrambling at the last minute.

More than simply proactive, the Marine Vapor Recovery project is predicted to reduce the volatile organic compounds emissions by 35 tons per year and the benzene emission by almost 1 ton per year. This environmental improvement project supports Shell’s ambition to be a good neighbor, reduce emissions, and reduce the potential negative impact of operations on surrounding communities.

The project also makes a big difference on the dock,” said Connell, where reductions in volatile compounds result in a healthier, more comfortable work environment.

In recognition of this project Shell was awarded the 2018 Governor’s Conservationist Achievement Award as Air Conservationist of the Year.