On January 1, 2021, Cenovus Energy acquired Husky Energy to form the third largest Canadian oil and natural gas producer and the second largest Canadian refiner. Learn more at Cenovus.com.

HF will continue to be used at the Refinery as part of the alkylation process to produce high octane gasoline.

Hydrogen Fluoride (HF)

Although HF has been safely used at the Refinery for almost 60 years and is widely used in the refining industry, possible alternatives for the rebuilt facility were investigated and a robust analysis of alkylation technologies that do not involve HF was conducted. After a thorough technology review, engineering analyses, risk assessments and discussions with subject matter experts, the Refinery determined alternative technologies were not proven or involved significant risks.

HF will continue to be used at the Refinery as part of the alkylation process to produce high octane gasoline, an integral part of the Refinery's product mix and economic viability. The community's concerns about the use of HF are understood. Refinery workers — many who live in the community — are aware of the need to maintain the highest safety standards.

There was no release of HF during the 2018 fire and all safeguards worked as designed. Additional HF safety enhancements that will be added during the rebuild (subject to regulatory approval) include:

As part of the rebuild efforts, the Superior Refinery has invested in additional safety measures for the HF Alkylation Unit. Some of the key upgrades include:

  • Seven remote-control water cannons, which are a highly effective method of addressing hydrofluoric acid vapors, if needed.
  • A Rapid Acid Transfer System, which can quickly transfer HF to an independent secure holding tank within the unit, in the event of an incident.
  • A new HF storage tank.
  • Reduction in the maximum onsite HF inventory necessary to support operations.
  • Enhanced leak detection, including additional HF detectors within the unit and a new laser detection system surrounding the unit.
  • Additional emergency isolation valves to quickly limit and isolate a potential leak, if needed.

The Refinery will continue to review new technologies and safety features that may be incorporated in the future.

Hydrogen Fluoride FAQs

HF Neutralization, October 2019