The Mobil Oil Refinery at 625 Elk St. in Buffalo was the corporation’s oldest refinery in the nation, conducting petroleum refining operations starting in the 1880s. Spanning more than 90 acres, the site housed both refining and storage facilities, employing generations of Buffalo residents before its closure in the 1980s. The site is currently part of the Brownfield Cleanup Program.
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History of Mobil Oil Refinery in Buffalo, N.Y.
The Mobil Oil Refinery served as a major employer in Buffalo starting in the 1880s and continuing through both World Wars. Initially built by a private refinery, the site was purchased in 1892 by Standard Oil Company of New York, which later became Mobil.
The refinery and related operations took up a large piece of property on Elk Street in Buffalo, and it was bisected by Babcock Street (north-south) and Prenatt Street (east-west). Its location next to the Buffalo River (to the south), made for easy access by large oil barges. And the river was dredged to accommodate the facility.
Being on the river also posed pollution challenges for the refinery, though, with frequent complaints about water quality. In the 1960s, the state of New York pursued a lawsuit against the Mobil Oil Refinery in Buffalo, citing its failure to comply with an order to improve waste treatment at the facility.
In 1981, the company announced it was going to close the refinery due to a decline in demand for petroleum products. The plant, the oldest of Mobil’s seven refineries in the United States, was unable to process high-sulfur and residual crude, which contributed to the company’s decision to shutter it. At the time, it was producing 20,000 barrels a day, compared with a capacity of 43,000 barrels. The site remained a storage facility even after the refinery’s closure, continuing to serve retailers in Western New York.
In 2006, the site entered New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program to address contamination and improve the potential for future use.
Mobil Oil Refinery and Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos was used throughout oil refineries on elaborate piping systems, pumps, boilers, and protective gear. Workers could have been exposed to asbestos during day-to-day operations, repair or maintenance of the equipment, or during demolition activities.
In addition to the asbestos-containing products used in oil refinery equipment, the Buffalo plant was constructed during a time when asbestos was used in many building materials. So any workers who performed maintenance or repairs on the plant, as well as those who worked in the vicinity of asbestos dust, were put at risk.
Unfortunately, the large amount of asbestos dust created at asbestos companies like oil refineries also put workers’ families at risk. Family members may have faced secondhand exposure in the home through asbestos fibers transferred home on workers’ uniforms.
We Represent Former Mobil Oil Refinery Workers with Mesothelioma
Many people in Buffalo and surrounding areas worked at the Mobil Oil Refinery to support their families, without being warned of the dangers asbestos could pose to their health. Decades later, these refinery workers are being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, asbestosis diagnosis, and other devastating diseases.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you need to talk with our recommended mesothelioma lawyers at Belluck & Fox, LLP now. Our skilled litigators are extremely knowledgeable about the Mobil Refinery in Buffalo and workers’ exposure to asbestos there. Belluck & Fox, LLP understands where and when asbestos was used at the refinery, and we can build a strong case for maximum compensation for those who are now coping with serious asbestos illnesses.
Schedule a free consultation today, and one of the partners in our firm will contact you personally to discuss your case. You can also visit our New York office and other offices located at The Capital District, Rochester and Woodstock.
- The New York Times: Mobil Plans to Close Its Buffalo Refinery
- UPI: Western New York’s Oil Refineries Appear to Be Following …
- Chicago Tribune: The Buffalo River: Swamp in Slow Motion
- N.Y. Department of Environmental Regulation: ExxonMobil Former Buffalo Terminal Site