FAQ

What is Resource Environmental L.L.C. (RELLC)?
RELLC is an organization formed by a group of major oil companies for the purpose of responding to and cleaning up certain releases of petroleum fuels into the ground from retail sites, pipelines, terminals and other petroleum fuels related facilities.

Why do gasoline and other motor fuels leak into the ground in the first place?
The industry has made improvements in underground storage tank systems and technologies but occasionally these systems do not function properly. Underground storage tank technology today includes double walled tanks and sophisticated monitoring systems. However, equipment breaks, underground piping can fail, and customers overfill their vehicles, allowing gasoline to get into the environment. When that happens, it is important to discover the release as soon as possible and aggressively deal with it.

Under what circumstances will RELLC clean fuel spills?
RELLC is designed to address sites where there is a known or suspected release of gasoline and other common petroleum fuels where the potential sources are facilities of two or more member companies. The member companies that formed RELLC are ConocoPhillips Company, ExxonMobil Corporation, Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Marathon Petroleum Company LP, Shell Oil Products US and Motiva Enterprises LLC.

Why will it take “two or more” member companies at a site for RELLC to get involved?
If one member company’s facility is the source of a release of petroleum products, that member company will take responsibility for addressing the problem. However, if there are two or more potential sources, the situation can get confusing which can cause unavoidable delays in determining responsibility. Since gasoline molecules don’t have brand names on them, we usually are unable at the outset to tell whose they are. Working through the RELLC process eliminates the need to resolve that initial uncertainty and expedites dealing with the contamination quickly, using the most appropriate remediation program to protect people and environment.

Why aren’t other major oil companies and other major marketers of petroleum fuels members of RELLC?

Many of these companies have been invited into the process and the invitation to join RELLC is open to them. However, several non-member oil companies have entered into Third Party Service Agreements with RELLC to do work at specific sites on an ad hoc basis.

What will happen if one or more potentially responsible parties at a release site you described are non-members of RELLC?
First of all, most but not all, of the major oil companies are members of RELLC. Secondly, most places you see that sell gasoline are branded franchisees, jobbers, dealers, or licensees who are independent small businesses. So the likelihood of this situation happening is quite high and has already happened. In such cases, RELLC offers to partner with the non-member entities potentially involved at the site to get it cleaned up as soon as practicable. If the non-members can’t participate, or if they refuse to do so, the RELLC members will deal with the environmental issues and reserve the ability to pursue their legal remedies against the other party(s) later.

How is RELLC funded? 
Start-up costs of operating RELLC were borne equally by the member companies. Remedial costs are subject to a management fee and are borne by members involved at sites according to their allocated share. Members not involved at a given site bear no financial responsibility for that site. Since 2006, RELLC is “cash neutral” and is self sustaining.

If RELLC is such a great idea, why haven’t the oil companies been doing this before now?
The companies that formed RELLC are constantly looking for ways to improve their core businesses, improve processes, and think of better ways of doing things through strategic thinking, especially where the environment is concerned. The concept of RELLC is a product of the ongoing commitment towards continuous improvement shared by the member companies.