The refinery in Savannah, Georgia is operated by Citgo Corporation, and it produces up to 28,000 barrels of crude oil on a daily basis. Citgo Corporation got its start in 1910 under the name Cities Service Company, and that name was changed to Citgo in 1965. The company is known for their triangular logo and the 7-11 convenience stores that are commonly found at their gas stations.
Citgo is known for having very modern processing equipment that is designed to produce a low level of hazardous emissions. Even with the emission controls in place, the Savannah refinery and their other plants have had some problems with pollution. In 2004, the company was hit with a lawsuit that claimed they were violating several laws of the Clean Air Act. In response, Citgo agreed to spend $320 million to upgrade their on-site pollution controls at each of the 6 facilities that were cited, as well as another $3.6 million in fines. Once the upgrades were finished, the Savannah and other refineries had become much more efficient and environmentally friendly.
While the fines they were charged in 2004 may have been among the largest unexpected expenses in the refinery's history, it was not the only time money had to be spent at the Savannah facility to make it a safe work site. Company officials had to pay qualified professionals to remove every item that was made out of asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was used in a variety of products for many years. It was a key component in several items such as insulation and rubber gaskets that were used in oil refineries and other industrial locations, primarily because of its strong resistance to excessive temperatures. Although the products could survive great heat, over time they would break apart, and when this happened microscopic bits of asbestos would become airborne. The asbestos was frequently breathed in by plant employees, and it caused serious respiratory damage and brought on forms of cancer such as mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a potentially deadly disease, that anyone who has been exposed to asbestos is at risk of developing. Employees of the Savannah refinery who were on staff at any time when the products made from asbestos were in use should notify their doctor right away. It can take many years for signs of cancer to develop, so even if you do not feel sick, it is a good idea to receive a check up from a medical practitioner.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.