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Rethinking refineries: Phillips 66 champions renewable fuels in energy transition

Phillips 66 is committed to playing a meaningful role in the energy transition by offering lower-carbon solutions to supplement its production of traditional fuels.

That was the message delivered by Suresh Vaidyanathan, the company’s vice president of renewable fuels, at the Argus America Crude Summit in Houston on Jan. 24. He was joined by executives from other refiners operating in the U.S. on a panel discussion exploring refining in a low-carbon world.

“If anybody is well-positioned to supply energy and participate in the energy transition, it’s the refineries,” said Vaidyanathan, a chemical engineer with some 27 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. “We have the assets, mindset and experience.”

Phillips 66 is thinking differently about its refineries in terms of repurposing feedstocks, processes and products, he said. A prime example is the conversion of the San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California, into one of the world’s largest renewable fuels facilities. Rodeo Renewed is expected to start up by the end of the first quarter and will produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel.

Vaidyanathan also cited the company’s Humber Refinery, the first in the U.K. to produce biofuels and SAF at scale and the primary supplier of SAF to British Airways.

While Phillips 66 is committed to pursuing returns-focused projects that support the decarbonization of its operations, Vaidyanathan pointed to regulatory certainty and timely permitting as key factors that will determine the success and speed of the energy transition.

“We are well-positioned to provide lower-carbon solutions, not because we have to, but because it makes sense,” said Vaidyanathan. “We can support a well-paced energy transition while providing affordable and reliable energy at scale.”