Port Arthur Refinery Motiva
The massive oil field in Texas known as Spindletop is considered to be on of the major reasons that so many other oil chasers set up sites within the Lone Star State. Port Arthur's refinery was established in 1902, and creation is directly linked to the Spindletop find. The Texas Company, which would be later known simply as Texaco, set up the new facility, and was underway with regular production in 1903.
Although the refinery got off to a shaky and uncertain start, it eventually stabilized and then grow over the years. By 1989, the plant was well established, and received interest from Saudi Refining, Inc. Saudi Refining merged with Texaco, and Star Enterprise, which shared ownership of the Port Arthur facility, as well as two other refineries in other states. 2001 saw another merger, this time with Star Enterprise and Shell Oil Company, resulting in Motiva Enterprises LLC, the company that currently runs the Port Arthur work site. Today the refinery has a daily processing limit of up to 285,000 barrels of crude oil.
Since taking over the plant, Motiva has had some serious issues to deal with. One came in 2003, when a flare up within the plant caused the emission of chemicals which formed a dark green cloud of smoke that floated over local neighborhoods. This of course caused massive concern with residents who feared for their safety. Plant officials explained that the emissions were actually harmless to both humans and the environment. and provided little more than a nuisance to the community. The flare up lasted for several hours, but it was not as noticeable as it might otherwise have been because the problem began at 11pm.
During June of 2008, a bad grounding within the plant led to and electrical failure that caused the plant to suspend operations and ended up with six employees being hospitalized. The reasons for the hospitalization were primarily heat exposure and exhaustion, along with exposure to a strange odor following the outage. The plant was slowly brought back online and was able to function at full capacity.
Prior to Motiva Enterprises taking control of the facility, there was yet another issue that then plant owners had to deal with: the removal of asbestos from the site. Most of the asbestos found at the location had been intentionally brought into the plant, as it was a major ingredient in several industrial products before researchers determined it is a highly toxic material that can produce cancer and respiratory problems. At that point, the plant had to be temporarily shut down while trained crews cautiously removed every product that contained asbestos, and took them away for proper disposal. Employees who worked near these products are urged to notify their healthcare providers about their possible exposure to this toxic substance.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.