Valero Cracker Unit ‘Trips’ at Benicia Oil Refinery

Valero Energy Corp. reported that the catalytic cracking unit at its Benicia refinery in northern California “tripped,” causing flaring, a filing with state regulators shows.

About 663 pounds of sulfur dioxide was released into the atmosphere during the incident, according to the filing with the California Emergency Management Agency. The flaring occurred at 2:30 p.m. local time, according to the report.

Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero, didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.

“We got a notification that the cracking unit at Benicia had a problem this afternoon,” said Matthew Geisert, hazardous materials supervisor for Solano County. “They indicated there was a power loss.”

The Valero refinery is 36 miles (58 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco on a tributary of the San Francisco Bay and has a total feedstock throughput capacity of 170,000 barrels a day, according to the company’s website.

“We are monitoring the situation, and there’s no indication that there is a public health issue,” Geisert said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Samantha Zee in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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