CVR Energy explores renewable diesel production

By Erin Voegele | May 11, 2020

Texas-based oil refiner CVR Energy announced on May 7 it is considering converting some of its refining units to renewable diesel production as a way to offset costs associated with Renewable Fuel Standard compliance.

The company made the announcement during its first quarter earnings call. Dave Lamp, CEO of CVR Energy, discussed he price of renewable identification numbers (RINs), noting that quarter-to-date ethanol RINs have averaged 35 cents, while biodiesel RINs have averaged 52 cents. He also discussed the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Jan. 24 decision that struck down three small refinery exemptions (SREs) approved by the U.S. EPA. He called the court’s recent decision not to re-hear the panel’s decision on the three SREs disappointing and said the next step is to request review of the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. “We believe small refineries across the United States will likely support such a review in some fashion,” he said, adding that CVR Energy expects the EPA to wait for all appeals to be exhausted before it adjusts RFS rules to comply with the court’s decision.

“As we continue to explore ways to reduce or offset our RIN exposure, we are looking at utilizing excess hydrogen capacity at both refineries and converting selected existing desulfurization units to renewable diesel production,” Lamp said. “We are still in the early phase of this project but look forward to providing additional details as we move further along.”

CVR Energy reported its RIN expense reached $19 million during the first quarter of 2020, up from $13 million during the same period of last year. The company currently estimates its full RIN expense will be approximately $65 million to $75 million in 2020.