Court green lights Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery conversion project


After months of uncertainty surrounding its environmental impact, Phillips 66’s ambitious renewable diesel plant in Rodeo, California, has finally secured the green light to operate after clearing a court-ordered review, triggered by concerns about potential air and water pollution, initially cast a shadow over the project’s future.

The project, based in Rodeo, California, will be one of the world’s largest renewable fuels facilities to produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The total cost of the project is approximately $1.25bn.

Two NGOs had filed a suit against the Contra Costa County, Rodeo alleging insufficiencies in the environmental impact report (EIR) of its assessment of the Phillips 66 conversion plan.

Earlier, commenting on these suits while speaking at the 3Q2023 earnings call, Richard G. Harbison, executive vice president of refining at Phillips 66 said that: “The ruling for the suit was received earlier this year. And actually, there were several issues in our favour, but there were three issues identified as insufficient in the county-certified EIR. The judge explicitly allowed construction to continue with the project while Contra Costa County works through and addresses the three deficiencies that were identified in the EIR.”

 “We remain confident, I should say, that we will start up the operation of Rodeo Renewed at the end of the first quarter [of 2024]. And we’re focused on executing that conversion plan.”

The company made the final investment decision in May 2022 to convert its San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California from processing crude oil to waste oils, fats, greases and vegetable oils.

The refinery will initially produce 800m gallons per year of renewable transportation fuels, including SAF, renewable diesel, and renewable gasoline.