Isla's data more favourable than of the judge"s experts

The Isla uses meteorological information for their calculations, which lead to lower values and require fewer far-reached measures to comply with the sulphur dioxide standards, observed the Advisory Administrative Law Foundation (StAB-Stichting Advisering Bestuursrechtspraak) from The Hague in the so-called ‘expert report’, which was drawn up by order of the judge. This report was this morning at the forefront in the civil case of the Humanitarian Care foundation and inhabitants against the refinery.

StAB observed ‘unexplainable differences’ in the meteo-data as maintained by the Environmental-service and StAB on the one hand, and Isla on the other. These differences cause the Isla to think that 40 percent reduction of the So2-emission is ok, and StAB thinks that the emission must be 60 percent.

Based on her own data, Isla thinks that three measures are enough. Two of the measures fall under those that the refinery must have already taken as part of the Isla Refinery Upgrading Program (Irup), supposedly already finished in 1997; these are the increase of the efficiency of the sulphur reclaiming installations (SRU) from 95 to 98 percent and having the so-called sour water stripper (SWS) operate stably.

As third measure is suggested to add an additive to the catcracker. The financial consequences in the scenario are not so drastic. Increasing the efficiency of the SRUs takes about 2½ months and yields the Isla 500.000 extra dollars per year, due to the high sulphur price. Having the SWS run stably also takes about 2½ months and yield about 300.000 dollars per year. Adding the additive to the catcracker takes 6 months, but it will cost the Isla 2 to 3 million dollars every year. The refinery brought up this morning that the upgrading of the SRUs was rounded off last week and that tests are currently being run to see whether this measure has the desired result. The measure regarding the SWS and the catcracker will be rounded off towards the end of the year, said the Isla-lawyers.

According to StAB, the Isla needs to make a ‘forceful reduction-effort’, because the emission of sulphur-dioxide must be lowered to 60 percent and not 40. The measures that StAB describes are qua investment level more drastic and expensive. In that case, the refinery must put in cleaner liquefied fuel, while ‘cleaner’ can also be achieved by mixing clean fuel of third parties. The Isla can also switch over to low-sulphur crude oil, is the opinion of StAB. The mixing in addition can be done in less than three months and will cost the refinery 100 milliard dollars per year. But in addition to that, also ‘washers’ will have to be placed for smoke/gas-desulphurization. This takes 2 years and costs between 30 and 80 million dollars.

Isla is of the opinion that there ought to be a closer expert-report. StAB told the judge that she is willing to coordinate this. The Isla already indicated that she doesn’t agree with StAB’s number of suggestions. Switching over to low-sulphur crude is technically impossible and practically not feasible. Besides, all the expenses will come for the Isla, and the refinery that is already ‘operating on narrow margins’, cannot charge these to Aqualectra and BOO. That would not be fair, because not only the Isla is responsible for for the total emission and concentrations on the level of life.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer Sandra in ‘t Veld said that time for negotiations and research is over. Possible research and studies an only be aimed at the future: comply with international environmental- and safety norms. “The minimum norms maintained in this procedure as criterion for illegal handling must be immediately complied with and the emission by the Isla must be considerable reduced on very short term.”

As part of two lawsuits, StAB was commissioned by the judge to draw up a so-called ‘report of experts’. For the LAR-case in which the Smoc demands that the BC makes the refinery comply with the licence under the Nuisance Act, questions were answered regarding the requirements for the carrying out of reliable measurements.

For the civil case of the foundations Humanitarian Care, Smoc, and 24 residents of neighbourhoods under smoke, StAB has considered the question how the Isla would operate within the permit requirements, when, and for how much money. The StAB-experts will answer questions of the judges in question, plaintiffs, and defendants in court either today or tomorrow.
(Source: National Newspaper Amigoe)

June 30, 2008

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