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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #148929
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #13-02371
Accident Date2013-05-25
Report Date 2013-06-05
Follow-up Date 2013-08-29
Follow-up: Yes

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Ethylene35 h 35 mKGF-01NONOYES883.0 pounds
Flammable Vapor35 h 35 mKGF-01NONOYES54,000.0 pounds

Accident Classified As: Reportable Quantity

Cause of Problem: Instrument Failure

On May 26, 2013 smoke was discovered coming from the stack of the steam cracking furnace KGF-01 at SACC. Upon investigation of the smoking, flooding conditions on the furnace were discovered and immediately mitigated. After further evaluation, it was determined that the furnace began experiencing flooding conditions during routine operation on May 25, 2013 at 3:23 am. Furnace flooding occurs when there is more fuel gas inside of the furnace than can be completely combusted. The uncombusted fuel gas released resulted in RQ exceedences for ethylene and flammable vapor. An investigation is underway to determine the root cause. An oxygen analyzer false reading caused the furnace to go into a flooded condition.

Discharge Preventable - Yes

Notes/Remedial Actions

Upon discovery, the furnace flooding conditions were mitigated. An oxygen analyzer false reading caused the furnace to go into a flooded condition. Conflicting analyzer readings caused the unit operator to make adjustments that extended the event duration and increased the degree of flooding to the point of generating smoke in the stack. Immediately upon discovering smoke from the stack, the furnace operation was corrected. Improvements to furnace controls and operator training are being implemented to prevent recurrence. Final investigation results indicate that the furnace flooding conditions were a result of an oxygen analyzer false reading. The follow up letter dated August 29 indicates a false reading, but the document scanned into EDMS only included one document and no additional information.