CITGO is a petroleum-product company based in Houston, Texas. The company has one of its crude oil refineries in Houston, and another in Louisiana. It is involved in every step along the way of the production and transportation of petroleum derivatives.
The company was founded in 1910 as the Cities Service Company, and has undergone various name changes and partnerships over the years. It became CITGO in 1965. In the 1980s, it was bought by Occidental Petroleum, and then soon after by Southland Corporation.
Most recently, since 1990, it has been a subsidiary of the national oil company of Venezuela, PDVSA. Following that takeover, the company underwent massive growth during the early 1990s.
In 1993, CITGO then took part in a joint venture with Lyondell Petrochemical to form CITGO -Lyondell Refining Co. This included upgrading Lyondell’s Houston oil refinery, which was originally constructed in 1910. The deal would accordingly include a minor (and after the upgrade, a 50 percent) interest for CITGO in Lyondell. Thus, the largest refinery in Texas is now controlled by CITGO -Lyondell.
Before the Environmental Protection Agency began to impose strict regulations on asbestos use, oil refineries and other construction sites employed it freely. Asbestos is strong, heat-resistant and cheap, as it is an abundant mineral found in the U.S. Moreover, it typically remains inactive during chemical reactions, which is a valuable trait for building materials in an oil refinery.
In the Houston Oil Refinery, as in others, asbestos lined many of the pipes, tanks, furnaces, boilers, reactors and other systems. Many workers were therefore regularly exposed to the dangerous substance, most of all when they performed repairs that involved breaking down these building materials, when asbestos particles would be released into the air as dust, easily inhaled and circulated throughout the facility. Even the workers’ protective clothing and gear often contained asbestos. Any time this gear was damaged, asbestos could be released, and workers could inhale the particles.
The inhalation of asbestos is extremely harmful to human health. Asbestos exposure is the cause of many respiratory diseases, most notably mesothelioma, which is an aggressive form of cancer in the lining around lung tissue. It is, in fact, the only known cause of mesothelioma is the presence of asbestos particles, which are very resistant to breaking down. The fibers stick to the thin tissue surrounding the lungs, abdomen and heart, and in some cases, subsequently cause cancerous plaques.
It can take decades before a person who was exposed to asbestos displays the symptoms of the disease, often far past the point in which the disease can be effectively treated.
If you or a loved one worked at the CITGO oil refinery in Houston, and have suffered damaging health effects from asbestos exposure, you may have a case that could allow you to recover significant compensation.
The law offices of Kraft & Associates, P.C. can advise you about your legal rights. We are professional, easy to talk to, and we will give you a free consultation and claim evaluation to discuss your options. Call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online to find out more.