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Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) strives to balance the reduction of environmental impacts with the growth of our company as we work to meet the energy needs of millions of people in the U.S. and export markets we serve. Our environmental stewardship efforts include measures to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, minimize waste generation, maintain water quality, and investments in renewable energy resources. MPC also implements asset-specific conservation programs and biodiversity efforts, including Wildlife Habitat Council programs. Several MPC facilities maintain certified wildlife habitats.

Management System

To drive health, environmental, safety and security (HES&S) performance throughout MPC’s business operations, we have adopted the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care® Management System. The Responsible Care Management System is a global initiative built on a basic “Plan-Do-Check-Adjust” philosophy and is practiced today by members of 57 national and regional associations in more than 60 economies around the world. It offers an integrated, structured approach to improve company performance in the following key areas: community awareness and emergency response; security; distribution; employee health and safety; pollution prevention; and process and product safety. More information on the Responsible Care Management System is available here.

Board and Management Oversight

The MPC board of directors establishes environmental performance metrics and annual goals for MPC. MPC management reports on its environmental performance at each regularly-scheduled board meeting. Significant environmental incidents, including releases and enforcement matters, are also reviewed with the board. The board reviews MPC’s strategy, including strategy related to environmental issues, at least once annually.

An HES&S Management Committee comprising the president and other executive officers of MPC is responsible for oversight of environmental and safety strategy and execution. The HES&S Management Committee meets quarterly to receive reports of environmental and safety metrics, goals, strategy implementation and performance. This committee has recommended, and the MPC Management Executive Committee has adopted, a Health, Environment, Safety & Security Policy (see below) to ensure that MPC conducts all aspects of its business in a safe, clean, secure, responsible and cost-effective manner.

Responsibility for environmental and safety performance lies with the manager of each MPC facility and ultimately with the head of each MPC business unit. To ensure compliance with environmental and safety laws and regulations as well as company policies and standards, MPC employs more than 350 health, environment, safety and security personnel in its operating components that are directly responsible for environmental and safety matters. In addition to these operating-component personnel, MPC maintains a corporate HES&S department comprising more than 50 professionals. This group is responsible for legislative and regulatory matters at the federal and state levels and assists the HES&S Management Committee in formulating policy for the company. The corporate HES&S department also houses the HES&S Audit group, which is an essential component of our Responsible Care Management System.

MPC has adopted a comprehensive Health, Environmental, Safety and Security Policy. This policy speaks to each of these critically important areas, but much of it is directly related to our environmental performance. The entire policy is reproduced below.

HES&S Policy

Performance Standards

To drive consistency, MPC complements its Responsible Care Management System with performance-based HES&S standards that provide expectations for organizational performance. These standards are periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes in laws or regulations, incorporate recommendations arising from audits and incident investigations, and to continually improve performance.


Periodic audits are a critical part of MPC’s HES&S management strategy. MPC relies on a three-tiered audit program to maintain regulatory compliance, ensure adherence to company standards and achieve continual improvement. Tier I and II audits focus on compliance and are generally conducted by facility personnel. Tier III audits are conducted by the HES&S Audit group and test Responsible Care Management System implementation and effectiveness. Tier II and Tier III audits are generally conducted with the assistance of an expert or experts from outside the company. Corrective action plans address audit findings and audit findings and corrective actions are tracked to their completion. Lessons learned from the audit are shared across organizations. Key findings and trends from these audits are communicated to MPC's HES&S leadership and senior management. Our Responsible Care Management System is also audited at least every three years by an independent, accredited auditor.

Total Air Emissions

MPC works to minimize or reduce criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing operations. MPC’s refineries generate most of the GHG emissions and criteria pollutants generated by MPC’s facilities and operations. As shown in figure 1 below, in 2014, MPC’s seven refineries generated approximately 96 percent of all direct and indirect GHG emissions generated by MPC facilities and operations.

[Figure 1.]

2014 Total GHG Emissions

GBR = Galveston Bay Refinery (acquired February 2013)
SHGP = South Houston Green Power (co-generation power plant located at GBR)
Direct emissions are those associated with the combustion of hydrocarbons, venting sources and fugitive sources within MPC-operated facilities. Indirect emissions are primarily those associated with the use of purchased electricity, steam and hydrogen at MPC facilities.
For historic comparison purposes, Refining assets prior to 2013 include refineries located in Canton, Ohio; Catlettsburg, Ky.; Detroit, Mich.; Garyville, La.; Robinson, Ill.; and Texas City, Texas.

Similarly, as shown in figure 2 below, our refineries generated 87 percent of criteria pollutants—sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, total particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds—generated from MPC facilities and operations in 2014.

[Figure 2.]

2014 MPC Criteria Pollutant Emissions


Energy Efficiency and GHG Emissions

In 2014, MPC’s seven refineries generated approximately 96 percent of all direct and indirect GHG emissions generated by MPC facilities and operations. The majority of direct GHG emissions from our refineries are associated with natural gas and refinery fuel gas combustion in boilers and heaters. After crude oil, energy is the single largest expense for our refineries, so increasing the energy efficiency of our boilers and heaters can produce economic benefits as well as reduce the intensity of GHGs (where intensity equals GHG emissions for a given quantity of product produced.) While MPC continually pursues opportunities for energy efficiency gains, additional fuel combustion and hydrogen use may be necessary to produce cleaner fuels required in the future, potentially offsetting our efforts to improve efficiency.

Indirect GHG emissions are primarily attributable to purchased electricity and steam necessary to operate the refineries and hydrogen necessary for certain conversion processes, many of which produce low-sulfur fuels necessary for today’s cleaner-burning engines. Although we seek to reduce indirect emissions through efficiency measures and sourcing, such emissions are by definition not within our direct control.

MPC consistently looks for opportunities where the economic benefits of increased energy efficiency will generate an acceptable return on our investment, and we have made aggressive investments to improve energy efficiency in our refineries.

In 2009, MPC became an ENERGY STAR partner company under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Program, representing a corporate commitment to consider energy efficiency and GHG emissions in all investment and operating decisions. As shown in figure 3, MPC is the industry leader in recognition under the ENERGY STAR Program. Since the program began, MPC has received 33 of a total of 44 recognitions awarded to U.S. refineries under the ENERGY STAR Program. This represents 75 percent of such recognitions—a very large share, considering MPC’s refineries represent less than 10 percent of the total U.S. capacity. Figure 3 below shows the ENERGY STAR awards achieved by our refineries since 2005-2006, including three for 2013-2014.

As a result of our energy efficiency efforts, we have avoided emitting millions of tons of GHGs. In 2013 & 2014 alone, MPC estimates that our three refineries awarded ENERGY STAR recognition avoided emitting an estimated 1.8 million metric tons of GHGs compared to petroleum refineries operating at the average efficiency of U.S. refineries.

[Figure 3.]

EPA Energy

In 2010, MPC established the Focus on Energy Initiative to bolster our commitment to improving efficiency of operations. As part of this initiative, a team of specialists work to make energy-efficiency incentives more visible to operations and technical personnel at our refineries. The initiative has also identified medium- and long-term improvements for implementation, having completed dozens of detailed unit reviews and identified hundreds of projects and studies. MPC’s Catlettsburg, Kentucky refinery provides a clear example of the success of the Focus on Energy Initiative. In 2009, Catlettsburg began a multi-year program to improve steam production and distribution efficiencies.  The refinery replaced six aging and inefficient boilers with two modern units, improving both efficiency and reliability.  These efforts, combined with many others, have resulted in a 4-6 percent improvement in efficiency versus the 2008 base year.

Figure 4 below tells what we believe is a remarkable story of success in achieving energy efficiency in our refineries which, as noted above, are responsible for approximately 96 percent of all GHG emissions from our facilities and operations. The graph depicts that from 2002 through 2014, gross refinery throughputs at the six refineries we owned throughout that period (excluding the Galveston Bay refinery acquired in 2013) increased by approximately 39 percent, while direct GHG emissions from those six refineries increased by only 7.5 percent.

[Figure 4.]

2014 Refining GHG Emissions

1 barrel = 42 gallons
GBR = Galveston Bay Refinery (acquired February 2013)
SHGP = South Houston Green Power (co-generation power plant located at GBR)
For historic comparison purposes, Refining assets prior to 2013 include refineries located in Canton, Ohio; Catlettsburg, Ky.; Detroit, Mich.; Garyville, La.; Robinson, Ill.; and Texas City, Texas.
Direct emissions are those associated with the combustion of hydrocarbons, venting sources and fugitive sources within MPC-operated facilities. Indirect emissions are primarily those associated with the use of purchased electricity, steam and hydrogen at MPC facilities.

Criteria Pollutant Emissions

In 2014 MPC’s refineries were responsible for approximately 87 percent of all criteria pollutant emissions from MPC facilities and operations. MPC also works to minimize or reduce criteria pollutant emissions, an effort aided by MPC’s participation in the EPA's ENERGY STAR program. These efforts have been very successful.

As figure 5 demonstrates, since 2002, emissions of criteria pollutants from six of MPC’s seven refineries (excluding the Galveston Bay refinery acquired in 2013), have been reduced by 59 percent while gross throughput increased by approximately 39 percent. Such improvements in emissions intensity are not achieved without significant expense, and MPC invested approximately $700 million to achieve these dramatic results.

[Figure 5.]

2014 Refinery Criteria Emissions Chart


1 barrel = 42 gallons

For historic comparison purposes, Refining assets prior to 2013 include refineries located in Canton, Ohio; Catlettsburg, Ky.; Detroit, Mich.; Garyville, La.; Robinson, Ill.; and Texas City, Texas.

Note: In 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a nationwide enforcement initiative focused on highly complex New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration permitting regulations. As a result of this initiative, MPC cooperatively worked with EPA and entered into a 2001 settlement agreement in which we committed to making significant investments to reduce criteria air pollutant emissions from our refineries over a period of several years. The resulting emission reductions are included in the chart presented here.

Galveston Bay Refinery

MPC is working to improve the environmental performance of its Galveston Bay refinery, located in Texas City, Texas. MPC acquired this refinery, one of the largest and most complex in the U.S., in February 2013. As part of our Galveston Bay Improvement Plan, we expect to invest more than $400 million in environmental projects at the refinery over the next five years. We anticipate that these improvements will significantly reduce criteria pollutant, hazardous air pollutant and GHG emissions. Further, by implementing our Focus on Energy Initiative at the Galveston Bay Refinery, we have identified additional opportunities for energy efficiency improvements that will be pursued over the coming years.

Refinery Flare Emissions

In addition to energy efficiency, MPC is an industry leader in reducing emissions, including GHG emissions, from refinery flares. In response to an EPA enforcement initiative, MPC partnered with EPA to define a series of operating parameters that will ensure flares continuously operate above 98 percent combustion efficiency. MPC was the first company to produce and publish the results of our own flare performance tests, setting the standard for the use of new measurement techniques and technologies to characterize and reduce volatile organic compound and hazardous air pollutant emissions from industrial flares. MPC subsequently entered into a settlement agreement with EPA to reduce flare emissions. As figure 6 shows, by the end of 2014, our flare efficiency improvements resulted in reductions of 85 percent in emissions of volatile organic compounds, 72 percent in emissions of hazardous air pollutants, and 43 percent in GHG emissions from 2007 levels.

[Figure 6.]

2014 Refinery Flair Emissions Chart 

TPY = tons per year
VOC = volatile organic compounds
HAP = hazardous air pollutants
GHG = greenhouse gas
GBR = Galveston Bay Refinery (acquired February 2013)

Additional flare efficiency projects implemented in 2014 and over the next few years—including the installation of new flare gas recovery systems at six refineries—are expected to yield total reductions of 90 percent in hazardous air pollutants, 90 percent in volatile organic compounds emissions and 80 percent in GHG emissions compared to 2007 levels. The investments to achieve these reductions are expected to total more than $425 million.


MPC strives to achieve zero spills of crude oil, petroleum products or other materials. To prevent spills, MPC provides regular training to our employees, maintains operational standards and procedures, uses various mechanical safeguards, conducts regular preventive maintenance and equipment inspections, and vets contractor vessels and facilities. When a spill does occur, MPC mobilizes well-trained emergency responders to mitigate and remediate any health, safety or environmental impacts. Each spill is investigated to identify the root cause and appropriate corrective actions to minimize the risk of a recurrence. MPC uses environmental metrics for spills to continually measure our performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

Wastes and Residual Materials

MPC maintains programs to reduce the volumes of hazardous and non-hazardous materials it generates. Materials are recycled or reclaimed whenever possible. Programs for waste minimization, recycling, reuse and reclamation are developed by MPC facilities based on their specific needs. We collect and analyze waste management data from all MPC business units to identify and prioritize opportunities for waste minimization. Third parties that transport, store, treat or dispose of wastes generated by our operations are reviewed and undergo an approval process prior to being used.


As our Health, Environment, Safety and Security Policy states: MPC is committed to environmental protection and emphasizes, to the extent practical, conservation of all resources and the minimization of waste, emissions and releases throughout our operations.