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Marathon Refinery Kentucky

Marathon Oil Corporation operates an oil refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, that has a crude oil capacity of 212,000 barrels per day. Processing a range of sweet and sour crude oils, it produces products such as gasoline, distillate, asphalt, propane, xylene, dilute naphthalene oil and others.

The Catlettsburg refinery was purchased in 1924 by Swiss Oil Corporation, which was then the parent company of Ashland, Inc., and came under the ownership of Marathon in 2005. The facility site is 650 acres, and it has been ISO 9001-2000 approved for quality management. In operation since the 1920s the refinery was considered a landmark in the region and has been known for its commitment to technology and safety.

Marathon Oil Corporation, the 4th largest oil and gas business based in the United States, was founded in 1887 - then known as The Ohio Oil Company. It currently operates in several US locations and produces a total of 1,016,000 barrels per day of crude oil.

Environmental Recognition

Marathon Oil Corporation's Catlettsburg refinery has been recognized by the National Petrochemicals Refiner Association and the National Safety Council for its safety and environmental standards. In 2007, it received the Master Level KY EXCEL award, which is part of a voluntary environmental leadership program. The refinery achieved this status by demonstrating its high level of environmental management planning and by committing to several environmental projects.

The facility also features an employee wildlife team that manages a 320-acre protected natural habitat. The refinery maintains this wildlife reserve, which is recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council for environmental and natural resource dedication. The refinery and its employees work with various other activities and organizations as well.

Marathon Oil Corporation and Asbestos

For most of the 20th century, asbestos was used as an insulator whenever fire or temperature extremes were a danger. Materials that contained asbestos, therefore, were frequently used when building sites like the Marathon Oil Corporation oil refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. Resistance to chemical reactions is one of the other properties of various kinds of asbestos. Due to the kind of work that occurs at oil refineries, asbestos, therefore, appeared not only in plant structures, but also in work surfaces, safety clothes and coating materials. One of the ironic things with asbestos is that while it does very well at protecting lives and property from the harm associated with combustion or high temperatures - it is one of the most effective insulators known and has been used for the purpose since ancient times - it also poses serious risks to people's health.

Most of this asbestos was the form called amosite. Amosite is one of the amphibole forms of the asbestos family of minerals, which is generally thought to be more likely to cause disease than the serpentine form. Although it was prohibited from use in building materials in the 1970s, this amosite, in the form of asbestos transite, was utilized for many years in labs, refineries and chemical plants throughout the country.

Asbestos transite displayed qualities like cement; it could be sprayed onto pipes and ductwork, laminated and molded into working surfaces. This form of asbestos did not offer a health hazard while it remained solid. As transite with asbestos containing material (ACM) grows older and become prone to crumbling, however, lethal, tiny fibers can float into the air. Asbestos when it is in this condition is considered friable, or able to be pulverized by hand pressure alone. In addition, industrial kilns almost always contained friable asbestos in insulation linings.

The Dangers of Friable Asbestos

Friable asbestos is hazardous since in this condition the particles are readily released in the air. Medical conditions such as asbestosis are known to result from breathing asbestos. In addition, asbestos exposure is known to be the leading cause of mesothelioma, a rare and all too often fatal disease of the mesothelium, the tissue that lies between the lungs and the chest cavity. Swallowing asbestos fibers, which is easy to do if those tiny particles float in the air and fall on food or in drinks, can be the cause of pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma.

Since scientific inquiry resulted in more understanding of the risks of asbestos exposure, workers today enjoy the protection of strict rules controlling how to use asbestos. When places like the Marathon Oil Corporation oil refinery in Catlettsburg were constructed, however, asbestos was more common. And even now, asbestos from the past can cause problems if it is disturbed during demolition projects.

The Lurking Danger of Asbestos

One of the insidious aspects of asbestos exposure is the associated diseases may take ten, twenty, or even thirty years to appear - frequently long after the worker leaves the employer. When a former employee begins exhibiting signs such as a chronic cough and dyspnea, his or her physician may not immediately identify asbestos exposure as a cause, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment. So, it is extremely important for everyone who worked at or spent much time around plants such as the Catlettsburg Marathon Oil Corporation oil refinery to ask their doctors for mesothelioma information. Furthermore, family members and others who shared homes with these people are also in danger, because unless effective decontamination protocols, like using workplace-only clothing and on-site showers, were in place, it was all too easy for people to bring home asbestos on their persons or their clothing. If detected early some treatments may be available, such as mesothelioma surgery.

Sources

Sources

Marathon Oil Corporation
http://www.marathon.com/

Marathon Oil Corporation - Corporate Fact Sheet
http://www.marathon.com/content/documents/fact_sheets/fact_sheet_rmt_May_2009.pdf

Marathon Oil Corporation - Catlettsburg, Kentucky
http://www.marathon.com/.../Catlettsburg_Kentucky/

University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) - Laboratories and Shops
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/EHSRM/ASB/acmimages3.html

University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Disposal
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/EHSRM/HAZEXCEPTIONS/a.html

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