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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #152527
State Police #13-05181
Accident Date2013-11-20
Report Date 2013-11-26
Follow-up Date 2014-01-17
Follow-up: Yes

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Ethylene23h 55mOLA-2X gas compressorNONOYES1,476.0 pounds
Propylene23h 55mOLA-2X gas compressorNONOYES588.0 pounds
Butadiene23h 55mOLA-2X gas compressorNONOYES382.0 pounds
Isoprene23h 55mOLA-2X gas compressorNONOYES165.0 pounds
Benzene23h 55mOLA-2X gas compressorNONOYES338.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide23h 55mOLA-2X gas compressorNOYESYES1,628.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide23h 55mOLA-2X gas compressorNOYESNO11,979.0 pounds

Accident Classified As: Reportable Quantity

Cause of Problem: Process Upset

On November 20, 2013 at approximately 2 PM, the OLA-2X gas compressor tripped due to high vibrations; causing material to be released to the site's flare gas system. Follow-up investigation results indicate that the drain line for the compressor coupling guard became plugged with an extensive amount of coke, allowing oil to build up and degrade the inside of the coupling guard. Over time, the oil degradation impinged on the coupling, causing the high vibrations. The Reportable Quantities for ethylene, propylene, butadiene, isoprene, benzene, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide was exceeded as a result of this event.

Discharge Preventable - No

There was no way to detect the plugged drain line. Even if it could have been detected, no online repair options exist for this problem. See note.

Notes/Remedial Actions

Immediately after the trip, unit shutdown procedures were executed and feed was safely removed from the unit. Air monitoring was conducted on November 20 and November 21 and all results were below the level of detection. Insulated the coupling guard drain line. Will evaluate installing a manometer on the coupling guard to attempt to measure air flow in the coupling guards and establish a monitoring program to determine if coke is accumulating in the coupling guards. Note: the initial report claims that plugged drain lines are not able to be detected or repaired, so the incident was not preventable. However, the follow-up report claims that air monitoring might detect coke accumulation and allow prevention.