Bakersfield Refinery - San Joaquin
An independent company called San Joaquin Refining runs one of three oil refineries in Bakersfield, California. The company first established the plant in 1969 and has been running it 7 days a week, 365 days a year ever since. The facility has a daily output ability of up to 24,300 barrels of crude oil per day, and it is used to produce Heavy Naphthenic crude oil.
Naphthenic oil is a mineral oil that is used for the production of inks, adhesives, lubricants, paint and many other common products. It is considered to be a "heavy" oil, which means that it is too thick to flow freely. Because of its thickness, special equipment must be used to collect the oil from deep inside the earth and bring it to the surface. Large turbine machines are used to pump steam into the ground and heat up the oil. Once it reaches the proper temperature, the thickness of the oil begins to dissipate, and it turns into a more liquid form that can be easily drained out. The process of pumping steam through the soil is known as steam cogeneration, and as a side effect it actually produces a large amount of electricity. This electricity is stored, and used to power more than 1 million homes in the San Joaquin Valley. Enough electricity is created that it is also shipped to Los Angeles and used to benefit businesses and residences in that area.
Since its inception, the San Joaquin Refining Company's has been looked upon as a safe, reliable facility that has managed to avoid many of the major issues such as large fires or excessive pollution that have plagued so many other oil refineries. They did, however, have to deal with one serious health problem that was common for most every refinery throughout The United States: the presence of asbestos at the work site.
At one time, asbestos was thought of as a very beneficial material with a large number of useful applications. It was a key ingredient in several products that were used in industrial settings, such as insulation, and quite valuable for its ability to withstand extreme temperatures. As scientists continued to study and evaluate asbestos, they eventually realized that it was toxic, and could do damage to the respiratory system of anyone who came into contact with it. They also discovered that exposure to asbestos causes cancer, specifically an often deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma.
It can take many years for any indications of illness or disease to develop after a person has been exposed to asbestos. Unsuspecting people can inhale small particles of the material without even realizing it, and the asbestos will remain in their respiratory system for years, slowly causing great damage. Any person who worked at this refinery while products made from asbestos were present should contact their healthcare provider and set up an appointment for a check up at their earliest convenience.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.