The Shell Puget Sound Refinery currently supplies over 25% of the region’s fuel needs which include gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. In order to produce those critical fuel products that our region depends on, the refinery depends on access to crude oil.
The Shell Puget Sound Refinery currently gets most of its crude oil via ocean-going tanker. Because traditional sources of crude oil for the Puget Sound Refinery are declining, and crude oil via pipeline is constricted, we need to bring in alternate sources of crude oil to keep the refinery competitive and ensure that it continues to produce fuel, jobs, tax revenue and other benefits for the region. Growing domestic production in the Bakken fields in North Dakota and elsewhere provide the best option.
Shell is entering the Environmental Impact Statement process on our plan to build a facility to bring crude oil into the refinery by rail. This crude would replace some of the oil currently brought in by ship so we can maintain current production, not increase capacity. The project would handle about one train per day in and out of our facility. The other refineries in Washington, including a competitor refinery next door, have built similar projects and operated them safely.
Our plan entails building a rail spur on our property with equipment to pump oil from rail cars into the refinery. This project will impact some existing pasture and a slough on the property designated as wetlands. Design features that minimize impacts on surrounding wetlands include track routing, re-routing an existing pipeline, and careful placement of retention ponds.
We recognize that some members of the community have concerns about moving crude oil by train. We are committed to communicating openly as the project moves forward to address those concerns, and to working with the railroad to ensure the safety of our neighbors and the environment.
Highlights of the safety and environmental protection features of our project:
- State-of-the-art rail cars built to the strict new standards
- Lower speeds as the trains approach the site
- A bowl-shaped layout to assure trains can’t accidentally roll outside of the facility
- A comprehensive fire suppression system
- Multiple safeguards to protect Padilla Bay from oil intrusion, including a triple containment system for liquid leaks or spills
- Containment ponds large enough to contain all the oil in a full 102-car unit train
- Dark sky lighting to reduce potential impacts to herons and eagles
- Design features that minimize impacts on surrounding wetlands, including track routing, re-routing an existing pipeline, and careful placement of retention ponds.
- Shell is working with wetland biologists and various interested environmental groups on a plan to restore a nearby degraded poplar farm into a marine estuary with a goal of providing significant incremental ecological benefits and higher graded wetlands than those being disturbed.