Billings Refinery - ExxonMobil
The ExxonMobil company was formed in 1999 following a merger of the Exxon and Mobil corporations, but it comes from a long history of oil producing companies. Originally, the company was known as Standard Oil, which was founded by John D Rockefeller in 1870.
Today, ExxonMobil is recognized as the largest gas company in the entire world. Part of the oil supply found at the ExxonMobil facility comes directly from Canada. Oil is pumped in the country, and sent through large pipes known as the Express Pipeline. This reaches into Billings, where the oil is taken and stored in 120,000 barrel tanks. This gives the facility the means of storing over 5 million gallons of oil.
In 2007, the refinery experienced an explosion followed by a large fire. The incident was caused by a gas leak within a pressurized pipeline. The fumes from the link were ignited, and that produced a large ball of fire. It took about 20 minutes for fire fighters to bring the blaze under control, and luckily no one was hurt. There was minor damage done to the facility, but the primary result was a temporary scare about the oil itself, which caused prices to rise to $88 per barrel.
The fire was not the only issue that the ExxonMobil Billings Refinery has been forced to endure. Employees of the plant were subjected to exposure to asbestos, which is a very hazardous material. Asbestos was used in several different items that were commonly found in oil refineries until it was discovered that the substance is extremely harmful. It was originally used as a key ingredient in products because asbestos has the ability to endure intense amounts of heat. Over time, however, it will break apart, and when that happens it releases tiny fibers into the atmosphere that can be unknowingly inhaled by any person. These fibers will stay inside the person's system for many years and can cause respiratory issues and a form of cancer called mesothelioma, a fatal cancer.
Anyone who worked at the Billings Refinery should make an appointment to be checked out for possible asbestos exposure. Even those who left the company many years ago and do not exhibit any signs of this disease are well advised to contact their doctor, as it can take take a very long times for the first symptoms to become noticeable. The sooner a proper diagnosis is made, the better your chances will be of dealing with the effects of exposure to asbestos.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.