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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #107433
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #08-04439
Accident Date2008-07-22
Report Date 2008-07-28
Follow-up Date 0000-00-00
Follow-up: Yes

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Flammable Gas25mH furnaceNONOYES4,950.0 pounds
HydrogenNONONO18.0 pounds
Carbon MonoxideNOYESNO1.0 pounds
MethaneYESNOYES368.0 pounds
AcetyleneNONONO7.0 pounds
EthyleneNONOYES662.0 pounds
EthaneNONOYES126.0 pounds
Methyl AcetyleneNONONO9.0 pounds
PropyleneNONOYES451.0 pounds
PropaneNONOYES20.0 pounds
ButadieneNONOYES138.0 pounds
1-ButeneNONOYES59.0 pounds
T-butene2NONONO30.0 pounds
IsobutyleneNONOYES77.0 pounds
ButaneNONOYES2.0 pounds
IsobutaneNONOYES1.0 pounds
Carbon DioxideYESNONO3.0
Hydrogen SulfideNONONO4.0
Polynuclear Aromatic HydrocarbonsNONOYES0.3
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)NONOYES369.0

Accident Classified As: Below Reportable Quantity (BRQ)

Cause of Problem: Piping or Tubing

Three events occurred within 24 hours of one another at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant. Two are reported in this report (LDEQ #107433), the other is reported separately (LDEQ #107421). In this incident (107433), a furnace tube leaked into convection section of H-furnace and caught fire. The tube leak occurred as a result of the incident described in report #107421. At approximately 5:56 PM on July 21, 2008, the charge gas compressor at the Olefins unit shut down when several processing cards in the gas turbine control system failed. When the compressor shut down, four furnaces automatically shut down and the gas in the furnaces was evacuated to the flare system. One of the remaining three furnaces was subsequently shut down while the remaining two furnaces continued to operated at 50% rates in order to maintain stable unit operations, which resulted in additional flaring for the duration of the event. The high rate of gas to the flare system resulted in the #25 flare smoking for 2 hours and 17 minutes. When the Olefins unit shut down, steam was introduced into the furnaces to displace the hydrocarbon feed to reduce flaring emissions. At 12:20 PM on July 22, 2008, while the H furnace was in the process of starting up, a leak was discovered in the convection section of the furnace. To stop the leak, water was introduced into the leaking pass of the furnace to displace the hydrocarbon feed. It is believed that the leak developed when steam was introduced into the furnace. Tube leaked into convection section of H-furnace and caught fire.

Discharge Preventable - No

The processing cards failed prematurely. There were no immediate indications that this furnace tube would fail.

Notes/Remedial Actions

This incident is the result of the incident #107421 (see comments under that incident). Immediately after the incident began, five of the seven furnaces at the Olefins unit were shut down. Excess gas was sent to flare system. Water was introduced into the leaking furnace pass to displace the feed and prevent uncombusted hydrocarbons from leaking into the atmosphere. Concerning subsequent preventative actions, the failed processing cards were replaced. The H furnace was taken out of service to be inspected for leak location and repairs will be completed as necessary. Used water in the tube to eliminate the burning material. Flammable gass consisted of mainly Butane.