The Haifa Oil Refineries have invested $50.4 million in 2008 in treating and upgrading environmental, ecological and safety issues at the factory, senior refinery officials have reported. This includes $18 million spent on projects to reduce emissions and $29 million spent on preparing the factory for its conversion to the use of natural gas, reports www.mynet.co.il. According to the report, officials reported that among the projects begun this year to treat environmental issues are: the covering of nine containers to reduce emissions, with work to cover six more still being done; the installation of sampling systems impervious to light carbons, and the closing of drainage systems in the factory's grounds. Work is also being done to reduce odors from the factory and to lessen soil pollution, with polluted soil being removed to sites authorized by the Ministry for Environmental Protection. The report said that factory managers had decided that despite the worsening economic situation, work to upgrade the factory should continue as scheduled through 2009, with "tens of millions of dollars" budgeted for environmental projects next year, including $14 million for the treatment of oxide emissions, $8.5 million for the continued treatment of other emissions, and $1.7 million for the continued treatment of odors.