Marathon proceeds with renewables conversion at Martinez refinery

By Erin Voegele | March 09, 2021

Marathon Petroleum Corp. announced on March 2 that is proceeding with plans to produce renewable diesel at its petroleum refinery in Martinez, California. Once the conversion is complete, the facility will produce 730 MMgy of renewable fuels.

A statement released by Marathon indicates the company’s board of directors has officially approved plans for the conversion project. The Martinez facility is expected to begin producing renewable diesel in 2022, with full production capacity expected to be reached in 2023. Engineering work on the conversion project is underway and Marathon has applied for relevant permits.

Company executives discussed the project during a fourth quarter earnings call held in early February. At that time, Mike Hennigan, CEO of Marathon, indicated a first phase of development at the Martinez refinery was planned for commissioning during the second half of 2022 with approximately 17,000 barrels per day of capacity. A pretreatment system expected to be online in 2023 would boost capacity to 48,000 barrels per day.

According to Marathon, the conversion project will significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, criteria air pollutants and water use when compared to petroleum refinery operations.

“Marathon Petroleum is focused on meeting the world’s growing energy needs and reducing its carbon emissions intensity,” Hennigan said in a statement issued March 2. “Converting the Martinez refinery to a renewable fuels facility is an important addition to our growing portfolio of renewables projects and aligns with our strategic priorities of strengthening the competitive position of our assets, implementing commercial strategy changes and strategically deploying our capital.”

The Martinez conversion project is the second large-scale renewables conversion project undertaken by Marathon. The company has completed a similar conversion project at its refinery in Dickinson, North Dakota. In February, Marathon reported that project was ramping up operations and was on track to reach full production capacity by the end of the first quarter. At full capacity, the Dickinson facility is expected to produce 12,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel from corn and soybean oil. Marathon intends to sell renewable diesel produced at the facility into the California market to comply with the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard.