BP America has submitted a permit application to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in which the company is proposing to lower air emission limits for its Whiting refinery after the completion of a $3.8 billion modernization program.

The modernization will equip the refinery to process more Canadian heavy crude oil and increase motor fuel production by about 1.7 million gallons a day.

More than $1.4 billion of the refinery modernization program is allocated for environmental improvements. To reduce air emissions, BP is replacing existing equipment with more modern technology and installing emission controls on new and existing units.

The proposed stricter air permit limits follow a five-year trend of measurable decreases in air emissions from the Whiting refinery. Criteria pollutants in 2006 were 68% lower than those in 2001, and these emissions will decrease an additional 7% by 2011, BP America said.

Dan Sajkowski, Whiting refinery manager, said: Canadian heavy oil is critical to America’s future energy security and the need for additional motor fuels. BP is committed to finding ways to achieve the important objectives of US energy security, increased gasoline supply, economic development and environmental stewardship.