Hawaii Refinery - Chevron
Chevron Corporation owns and operates a second oil refinery located in Kapolei, Hawaii. The roots of Chevron can be traced back to John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Corporation. Standard Oil was broken up following the passage of an anti trust law in 1911, and Chevron was one of the offshoots of this situation. The plant currently produces up to 54,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Like the competing oil refinery in Hawaii, Chevron's plant has had to deal with massive power outages that resulted from earthquakes and tropical storms. One of the worst outages happened in October of 2006 when a massive earthquake knocked out the power for several days. Production came to a halt during this time, and Chevron was forced to rely on the fuel supplies they had in storage to provide their customers with the gasoline products they needed.
Huge flames were seen shooting into the air following a fire at the refinery in February of 2001. A constant flame within a smoke stack at the facility was hit with excess gasses, and that caused the fire to shoot into the sky, where it could be seen for miles around. The blaze caused bushes next to the refinery to ignite, but local fire fighting crews were able to put out the fires quickly. No one was injured during the incident, and the major question became whether or not toxic chemicals were released into the air that would have an adverse affect on the local community. A company spokesperson claimed that there was no risk, and that only a small amount of hydrocarbons escaped into the atmosphere, but they were all blown out to sea by strong winds so they would not cause any harm to nearby residents.
In 2005, the Hawaii refinery was hit with a large fine of $107,000 because they had stored a large piece of plant equipment at the facility for five years before making the determination that hazardous waste was still stored inside.The waste material, known as K050, is on a list of dangerous materials that was put together by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Chevron was charged not only with improperly storing the equipment with waste materials contained inside, but also with sending the equipment to another company to be recycled without cleaning it out first.
These waste materials were not the only things that posed a potential health hazard to plant employees. Products that were made out of asbestos were commonly used at the facility before the naturally occurring material was found to be harmful. These products were beneficial at the refinery because they were able to withstand the high temperatures that the facility produced, but over time they would crack apart and release tiny bits of asbestos fibers into the air. The fibers have the ability to float in the air without being noticed, and can be accidentally inhaled by anyone without their knowledge. Asbestos is now known to cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma, which can do serious respiratory damage and is often fatal. Any person who may have been exposed to asbestos should notify their doctor at once.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.