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Williams Alaska Petroleum

Williams Alaska Petroleum, Inc., is an energy-based company located in Alaska. Williams Alaska Petroleum operates three different businesses within Alaska: a refinery in North Pole, petroleum distribution terminals in Anchorage and Fairbanks and more than 25 Williams Express retail gas stations and convenience stores in Fairbanks, Juneau, Eagle River, Kenai , Soldotna and Wasilla. Williams Alaska Petroleum is a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams Companies, Inc.

To serve the needs of air cargo customers for ramp and warehouse space, Williams developed the Alaska Cargo Port at the Anchorage International Airport Williams. The company also purchased an interest in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System to distribute products from the refinery. In March 1998, Williams purchased MAPCO Alaska Petroleum Inc.

Trans Alaska Pipeline System

In 2000, Williams Alaska Petroleum purchased a 3.0845 percent interest in the Trans Alaska Pipeline from Mobile Alaska Pipeline Company. At a cost of $8 billion, the Trans Alaska pipeline was built between 1974 and 1977 and is one of the largest pipeline networks in the world. The pipeline can carry up to 1 million barrels of crude oil 800 miles per day and runs from the Prudhoe Bay in northern Alaska to the Port of Valdez in the south.

Williams Companies, Inc.

William Alaska Petroleum's parent company is an energy- and communications-based company with headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Williams uses its network of pipeline and high-speed fiber optic cables to connect its customers to the energy and communications projects they need.

Asbestos and Williams Alaska Petroleum

For much of the 1900s, asbestos was chosen as an insulator whenever fire or excessive heat was a concern. Asbestos-containing materials, accordingly, were frequently used when building oil refineries like Williams Alaska Petroleum facilities. Resistance to reactive chemicals is another property of certain kinds of asbestos. Floor tiles, insulation, bench tops, even protective clothing, therefore, frequently were made with the fibrous mineral. The ironic thing with asbestos is that although it does very well at guarding against the harm done by extreme heat and fire - it is one of the best insulators known and has been used for the purpose since ancient times - at the same time it poses serious risks to people's well being.

Amosite was almost always the variety of asbestos utilized in these facilities. Often called "brown asbestos", the amphibole form of asbestos known as amosite is especially good at resisting acidic chemicals like those produced in plants like Williams Alaska Petroleum's because of the iron in its chemical composition. Although it was prohibited from use for construction purposes in the 1970s, amosite, in the form of asbestos transite, was utilized for many years in refineries and chemical plants throughout the country.

Asbestos transite could be laminated, molded into working surfaces and sprayed onto ductwork and pipes just like cement could. Generally, new items made with transite were considered innocuous because the asbestos particles were trapped in the transite. As transite with asbestos containing material (ACM) ages and become prone to crumbling, however, deadly, microscopic fibers are able to float into the air. When it is in this state, it is considered friable, a term that is used to describe materials that are easy to crush. The insulation lining of industrial kilns also often were fabricated with friable asbestos.

Why Friable Asbestos Is Bad

Asbestos fibers, when they are friable, can be easily released in the atmosphere. If a person breathes these fibers, they can harm the lungs, resulting in asbestosis. In addition, inhaling asbestos is known to be the leading causal factor of mesothelioma, an unusual but often fatal disease of the mesothelium, which is the lining between the lungs and the chest cavity. When the airborne particles settle on food or in beverages and are then ingested, pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma can occur, although they are less common than pleural mesothelioma.

Since medical research led to increased knowledge of the risks of asbestos exposure, people today benefit from the protection offered by strict laws regulating how to use asbestos. However, when oil refineries like Williams Alaska Petroleum plants were constructed, asbestos was more common. And even now, asbestos from the past may be the source of danger when it is mishandled during demolition and remodeling jobs.

The Hidden Danger of Asbestos

Unlike most workplace injuries, which are readily observed and known about immediately following the incident, asbestos-related diseases may take many, many years to manifest. It can also be difficult to identify asbestos-related disorders since the symptoms can be mistaken for those of other disorders. Men and women that worked in or spent much time near Williams Alaska Petroleum should tell their doctors about the chance of asbestos exposure. Experimental methods for treating mesothelioma are being developed, and early detection gives patients and their doctors the highest chance to combat the previously always-fatal disease. Workers who think they were negligently exposed should contact a mesothelioma attorney.

Sources

Sources

Alaska Communications Systems - Alaska Communications Systems announces Williams Alaska Petroleum contract
http://investors.alsk.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=80950

All Business - Williams cleared to build port rail loop
http://www.allbusiness.com/north-america/united-states-alaska/1039074-1.html

PDC Harris Group LLC - MAPCO Alaska Petroleum
http://pdcharris.adhostclient.com/taxonomy/term/14?n=12

Petroleum News - Williams to expand fuel storage at Anchorage
http://www.petroleumnews.com/newsbulletin/162767899.html

The Free Library - Jet Fuel for Alaska (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Jet+fuel+for+Alaska.(MAPCO+Alaska+Petroleum+Inc.)-a055208616)

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

Williams Corporate - Williams agrees to purchase interest in Trans-Alaska Pipeline system
http://www.williams.com/newsroom/news_releases/2000/rel496.html

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