Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

The Thing About Oil


Whether we like it or not, we need oil products in our daily lives. The Calumet Specialty Products Partnership helps to provide them. Part of their production takes place in a refinery in the city of Great Falls, Montana.

As we descend from the low hills on our way from Havre to Helena, the city of Great Falls, Montana, sprawls in front of us. It is named for a series of five dams built nearby on the Missouri River, one of which helped provide the electricity needed to run the refinery.

The refinery is a landmark of the city, and its presence is hard to miss. But locals are glad for its existence as it provides many jobs and  much-needed products.

When we have passed through we have sometimes taken the city center route and other times the Northwest Bypass. Either way, the refinery is unavoidable and so is the smell.

What amazed me is that right across the street the Montana Club Restaurant and a little farther on, the Wal-Mart and several other businesses, are bustling with customers and doing very well.

Obviously the refinery was there first.

We all hear about pipelines and air pollution and the bad petro-chemicals these days, but oil is part of our survival. We need to eat, and farmers need machinery, and that machinery needs to be oiled and fueled. Vehicles people drive need gasoline and oil. Other by-products like paint, solvents, candle wax, cosmetics, and asphalt  are less necessary, but still convenient to have. Whether we like it or not, it is difficult to do without many of these products for our economy to function.

Finding ways of minimizing the impact of oil product manufacturing is an ongoing challenge, but the people of Great Falls are glad for the jobs and proud of the important products they provide.


Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

23 thoughts on “The Thing About Oil

  1. Maybe those businesses built close to their customers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many people think about oil in terms of fuel, but don’t think about all the other products that make use of petroleum products — like our computers, hair dryers, portable radios, eyeglass frames…
    It’s part of our world now, and learning how to balance costs and benefits will be the trick going forward.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sadly,
    as with most other things discussed nowadays,
    the majority of folks think one-dimensional, mostly because of lack of interest, laziness to explore the cause/benefit of things and general oblivion to facts and reality 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A very thought provoking one Anneli. Balancing out the negatives with the positives is so difficult with things like this. I don’t think we can ever do that. But I guess going forward, there will be whole new industries that are built upon the balancing of the negatives that we are the byproducts of what we are doing now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks- and smells awful – but its nessesary I guess…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A necessary evil, perhaps. I’m sure the locals are used to the smell, sight, etc. and as you said, grateful for the jobs it provides.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So many pros and cons to consider.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oil is necessary for our current living on this earth. Electric cars, where would all of the electricity come from to power them and our current high demand already? I don’t have the answer.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oil: a blessing and a bane at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

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