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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #99883
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #07-05919
Accident Date2007-10-01
Report Date 2007-10-08
Follow-up Date 0000-00-00
Follow-up: No

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Benzene5msafety valvesNONOYES134.0 pounds
Flammable Vapor5msafety valvesNONOYES13,413.0 pounds

Accident Classified As: Reportable Quantity

Cause of Problem: Instrument Failure

On October 1, 2007 at approximately 2:48 PM, the LOLA T-1 tower overpressured resulting in a hydrocarbon release to the atmosphere through three of the four safety valves on the overhead of the tower. The overpressure was caused by a faulty pressure reading on the tower pressure control system. The T-1 overhead pressure instrument had been reading erratically prior to the incident and was being evaluated. During this time, the overhead pressure control valve was operated in manual to maintain a specified tower pressure. Pressure began to increase in the tower, and firing of the tower's reboiler furnace, F-402, was automatically shutdown when the pressure reached 35 psig. Furnace firing was restarted and pressue continued to rise, reaching 38.55 psig, even though the controller was using the pressure control valve in an attempt to lower tower pressure. After control was reestablished, it was determined that three of the four tower safety valves had relieved.

Discharge Preventable - Yes

Notes/Remedial Actions

The pressure control valve on the T-1 overhead circuit was fully opened to relieve the pressure in the tower. The pressure instrument is being evaluated by instrument technicians, but at the time of the report, no cause for the erratic behavior was found. An investigation is ongoing and the appropriate follow up actions will be completed to prevent recurrence.