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"A Dispute Resolution at the Workplace"
A Dispute Resolution at the Workplace
Joel Chibota

Companies are moving away from expensive litigation and opting for more time and cost effective methods for resolving disputes, including my present employer, Marathon Oil Company ("Marathon"). A recent incident and the resolution technique used by Marathon are presented along with an analysis of the effectiveness of the technique used.

An Assessment of

A Dispute Resolution at the Workplace

On November 8, 1999, Marathon Ashland Petroleum ("MAP"), Catlettsburg, Kentucky refinery, owned 68% by my employer, Marathon Oil Company ("Marathon"), had a tank rupture incident submitted for investigation. On this day, water in the bottom of tank 845 reached the boiling point and expanded into steam causing a foam-over of gas oil. The weld between the roof and top of the tank failed and allowed the foam mixture to erupt through openings in the top of the tank. The oil mist was sprayed into the air on and off the refinery's property. The erupted oil made its way into the parking lot behind the control lab of the refinery where it contacted several parked cars. The liquid traveled down the road and into nearby storm sewers.

This event was typical of a foam-over caused by water vaporizing in hot oil. The source of the water was not concluded due to limited availability of data. The tank was removed from service and several in-house corrective actions were initiated. Refinery personnel were alerted to the potential hazards of water in a hot atmospheric storage tank. Production planning was revised to ensure all process limitations were incorporated into the plan. Finally, internal process limits were modified to comply with new post-incident guidelines set forth by Marathon.

MAP's Catlettsburg refinery received a notice of violation from the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Cabinet ("the Cabinet") regarding the rupture of tank 845. MAP has been involved in discussions with the Cabinet...

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