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ExxonMobil Refinery (2638), Baton Rouge

Causal Factor: Instrument Failure

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
No LDEQ Reported

Cause: repairs were being done on an exchanger which caused the events to occur

Followup: No

Notes: the MEA from the scrubber was temporarily diverted to the slop system where it would not cause additional upsets. The tail gas from the tail gas clean up unit was diverted to the incinerators to reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions; the procedures for removing the absorber tower from service will be updated to reflect the potential to have hydrocarbon condense in the MEA system; . Air monitoring completed outside facility.
Nitrogen Oxide: 36.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 301.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 27,695.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

FLARE- Alkylation Unit
Cause: a pump on the cooling tower shut down due to a structural failure on the filter of the pump. Caused alkylation unit to flare.

Followup: No

Notes: the machinest on the alkylation unit made immediate repairs to the pump and operations personnel were able to restart it; this was not preventable because the failure on the filter could not have been predicted
Nitrogen Oxide: 22.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide: 4.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

FLARE- No. 19
Cause: controls for the REA regenerators were switched to the control backup panel, so part of a controller could be repaired. The REA regenerators had difficulty operating and carried over liquid to the SRLA knockout drums triggering an overabundance of chemical releas

Followup: No

Notes: the refinery reduced rates to reduce the production of CAG.Ammonia acid gas production was stopped to allow the maximum amount of CAG to be processed.
Sulfur Dioxide: 64,400.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 698.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 87.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide: 15.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Cause: flaring occurred when the rate of the baton rouge fractionator was increased about 24 KB/D. Safety valve was faulty.

Followup: No

Notes: the safety valve was blocked away from the flare drum and Sorrento was notified.
Nitrogen Oxide: 36.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Cause: caused by the safety valve malfunction

Followup: No

Notes: this report involved 3 events over the course of 3 days; the source of the additional gas to RGCU was determined and the vapor pulldown line was opened to reduce pressure in the sphere. This allowed to safety valve to reseat; 63 pounds of nitrogen oxide was released during the incident on the 15th and 16th, and an additional 18 pounds were released on the 17th- making the total pounds released of nitrogen oxide
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,365.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 81.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide: 11.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

tank 766
Cause: level gauge on tank 766 was not responding correctly. Chemicals began flowing out of the drain on the tank.

Followup: Yes

Notes: foam was sprayed on the tank to reduce exposure and fire potential. The tank was slowly emptied to ensure the roof did not shift and damage the tank.
2,2,4-Trimethylpentane: 24,618.0 pounds
Xylene: 3,313.0 pounds
Toluene: 2,422.0 pounds
Ethylbenzene: 663.0 pounds
Benzene: 582.0 pounds
Hexane: 553.0 pounds
Flammable Vapor: 362.0 pounds
Naphthalene: 258.0 pounds
Butene: 75.0 pounds
Cumene: 49.0 pounds
Cyclohexane: 36.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Cause: a leak on the fractionator tower at PCLA-3, unit had to be shut down for repair, the unit temperature caused the carbon monoxide to exceed the maximum concentration allowe

Followup: No

Notes: the temperature in the regenerator was increased to push higher temperature gas to the furnace, which reduced the formation of carbon monoxide; the report stated that this was not preventable because the new regulation requires more experience to meet the limits and it was not known there was a problem with the furnace burne
Carbon Monoxide: 3,995.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

FLARE: GLA-3x compressor
Cause: flaring occurred due to an instrument problem on the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit

Followup: No

Notes: an alternate compressor was started up and the feedrate to the unit was reduced
Sulfur Dioxide: 2,922.0 pounds
Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds (HRVOCs): 163.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 82.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide: 14.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

E3A- & E3B
Cause: safety valves lifted

Followup: No

Notes: There were 2 incidents involved- the 1st did no exceed any reportable quantities, the 2nd incident started on 3/24/05 at 11:21pm and ended at 11:30pm the same day; furnace reboiler was shut down to reduce tower pressure and allow safety valves to reseat; the actual release lasted 9 minutes (from 11:21pm to 11:30pm); the report stated that the safety valve release on 4 LEU was preventable, but the reboiler leak on E-3A was not expected as it was a newer bundle than E-3
Butene: 693.0 pounds
Flammable Vapor: 70,890.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds: 44,957.0 pounds
Xylene: 10,170.0 pounds
Toluene: 10,000.0 pounds
Ethylbenzene: 2,810.0 pounds
Benzene: 2,260.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

No2 and No. 3 light end
Cause: control valve malfunction due to changed stream dispositions

Followup: No

Notes: line will be cleaned to eliminate the plug and the water supply source will be changed to reduce potential for plugging on the water wash lines
Hydrogen Sulfide: 526.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Cause: the controller responsible for the operation of the Refinery Gas Compression Unit (RGCU) began experiencing problems

Followup: No

Notes: C-50 was started up to eliminate the flaring and was run on manual. Incident not preventable because normal preventative precautions not used due to concern over clanging noises.
Sulfur Dioxide: 503.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 24.0 pounds
Hydrogen: 2.0 pounds
Nitrogen: 2.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 1.0 pounds
Methane: 15.0 pounds
Ethane: 10.0 pounds
Cyclopropane: 3.0 pounds
Propane: 41.0 pounds
Butene: 5.0 pounds
Butane: 20.0 pounds
pyrrolidine, protonated: 19.0 pounds
Pentene: 1.0 pounds
Pentane: 7.0 pounds
Pentane: 5.0 pounds
n-Hexane: 3.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Cause: Control valves created excessive back pressure on the compressors at PCLA, which resulted in the compressor pressure control valve opening to the flare syste

Followup: No

Notes: Corrected controls for the pressure control valves for the first part of the flaring event and closed a block valve for the second part of the flaring event; report stated that the release was preventable, but eplained that the flaring from 10:17am to 1:49pm was not preventable because a level instrument was reading incorrectly, which allowed the gas to the flare system.
Sulfur Dioxide: 734.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 32.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Tail Gas Clean Up Unit
Cause: 100 Unit went off ratio because air control valve failed closed.

Followup: No

Notes: The steam leaving the TGCU exceeded the regulatory maximum 12 hour average of 10 ppm of hydrogen sulfide from 3pm to 11pm. Control Valve positioner was repaired. Air bypass valves are being installed on the 100 Unit turnaround. Release unpreventable because this is the first time it has happened and can only be installed while unit is down.

No LDEQ Reported

F-1 furnace at the East Coker
Cause: the temperature indicator on P-2B was not reading. Restart of feed pump caused the temperature to missread the feed temperature and automatically reduced the firing in furnace F-1. Coil outlet temperature then fell and the furnace firing automatically increased.

Followup: No

Notes: The forward control program has been changed, limiting the potential for error in temperature readings and in turn limits the change feedforward controls can make on furnace firing
Carbon Monoxide: 155.0 pounds

None Reported
Cause: the smoke is presumed to have been caused by hot insulation in the furnace ducting -pressure sensor failure

Followup: No

Notes: This incident was preventable but there is no information whatsoever as to why the accident was preventable. The F-202 Furnace was operating normally when a pressure sensor on the inlet air system failed╔When the pressure sensor failed, the system falsely detected low air flow to the furnace and the furnace drop-out doors functioned as designed. When the drop-out doors functioned, the hot flue gas that was being sent to the air preheater should have been automatically diverted from thr preheater directly to the stack thus protecting the air preheater from overheating. Due to incorrect wiring in the emergency shutdown system, the hot flue gas continued to flow through the air preheater and associated ducting. Without a medium to r

None Reported
Cause: The smoking furnace is thought to have been caused by an inaccurate reading from the oxygen sensor

Followup: No

Notes: This incident was not preventable because the faulty oxygen sensor had been properly maintained and there were no indications that this sensor would fail. Remedial Measures - An investigation is ongoing and the appropriate follow-up actions will be completed.

FLARE - #17 and #19 Flares
Cause: the level indicator on the #4 Light Ends T-103 amine scrubber tower failed to function properly. Excess gas was flared in the #17 and #19 flares.

Followup: No

Notes: This incident was not preventable because failure of the level instrumentation was unexpected. Remedial Measures - an investigation is ongoing and the appropriate follow-up action will be completed. As a result of the faulty level indication, hydrocarbons were carried under to the amine regeneration unit and subsequently the refinery gas collection unit. The gas collection unit was unable to handle the increased load and therefore the excess gas was flared in the #17 and #19 flares.&##34;Reportable quantities for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, butenes, and propylene were exceeded
Butene: 307.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 2,964.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide: 26.0 pounds
Propylene: 220.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 154.0 pounds

FLARE - C-30 compressor at the Refinery Gas Compression Unit - Flare #5, 23, 17, 19.
Cause: C-30 compressor at the Refinery Gas Compression Unit automatically shutdown due to a high vibration alarm. The high vibration alarm was due to work activities from nearby maintenance personnel. As a result of the shutdown, the refinery flared for 20 minutes from #5, 23, 17 and 19 flares. During the 20 minute flaring the #17 flare experienced a 5 minute duration during which the instrumentation indicates that a flame was not present. Hydrocarbons were being emitted to the air via the unlit flare.

Followup: No

Notes: There is no information as to why this incident was preventable. Remedial Measures - an investigation is ongoing and appropriate follow-up actions will be completed. NOTE: During the 20 min. flaring event, the #17 flare experienced a 5 min. duration during which instrumentation indicates that a flame was not present. According to the Light Ends Title V operating permit #2589-V3, issued April 11, 2006, flares must be continuously monitored to confirm the presence of a flame. It is constively estimated that during this 5 min. period when the pilot and flame were extinguished, hydrocarbons were being emitted to the air via the unlit flame. These circumstances resulted in the exceedence of the Louisiana State Police reportable quanti
Nitrogen Oxide: 15.0 pounds
Flammable Vapor: 1,067.0 pounds

F-600 furnace at No. 2 Reformer / Powerformer Feed Hydrotreater (RHLA-2) / No. 2 Powerformer
Cause: an instrument malfunction caused the F-600 furnace on the No. 2 Reformer to shut down. The shutdown of F-600 resulted in the Powerformer Feed Hydrotreater (RHLA-2) and the No. 2 Powerformer shutting down. The Powerformer is a major supplier of hydrogen to the refinery, and with the reduction in hydrogen supply, several units were forced to significantly reduce rates or shut down. The Feed Preparation Unit feeds RHLA-2 and with this unit shut down a valve was opened to send this stream from Feed Preparation to tankage. There is a second valve in this line that is normally open, but during this time it was closed. The second valve being closed led to a pressure increase in T-31 and caused the safety valve to release. The towe pressure was returne

Followup: No

Notes: Remeidal Measures - An investigation is ongoing and appropriate follow-up actions will be completed. Exxon states in their report that the accident was preventable. Their explanation is that the safety valve did not restart as it should have, nor did the operator know the second valve was closed. Could this be human error in addition to Instrument failur
Toluene: 840.0 pounds
Xylene: 7,574.0 pounds
Cyclohexane: 554.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 1.0 pounds
Butene: 27.0 pounds
Benzene: 60.0 pounds
Flammable Vapor: 134,330.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds: 126,756.0 pounds
Hexane: 1,005.0 pounds

Smoking flare
Cause: flame detector failed to have steam valve open properly

Followup: No

Notes: Steam valve opened to stop flare smoke and maintenance will be performed on the flare detection system to ensure system working as designed


FLARE-Flare #17
Cause: water wash drum reading false high

Followup: No

Notes: level control valve was closed and instrument was cleaned and checked to determine working properly. Process checks conducted periodically to ensure working properly
Nitrogen Oxide: 13.0 pounds
Propylene: 16.0 pounds
Hydrocarbon: 76.0 pounds

flow meter
Cause: Water leaked out of a flow meter.

Followup: No

Notes: The leak contained hydrogen sulfide and sour water.


flare #7
Cause: The indicator is not functioning properly, so they do not know the exact amount released to the flare.

Followup: No

Notes: They normally have instrumentation that tells what the values are when they are flaring. This occurred at Flare #7.


Pressure vacuum vent release
Cause: Due to excess hydrocarbons in the tanks, the vapor recovery system became overwhelmed and the pressure exceeded the setpoint of the PV vents. Excess hydrocarbons was carryunder from an upstream acid settler drum that had a malfunctioning level instrument.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Hydrocarbon source was blocked from tanks. The reportable quantity for flammable vapor was exceeded.
Flammable Vapor: 626.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

oil spill
Cause: The valve indicator on the loading arm drain line did not reflect the actual valve position, resulting in crude being pumped directly to the dock slop system. Crude then backed up on the dock deck resulting in the crude spill to the river.

Followup: No

Notes: Crude unloading operation began at Berth #1. Immediate spill response and cleanup was effective in minimizing off-site impact.
Crude Oil: 37.0 gallons


Cause: Experienced a minute and a half of smoking from F2 furnace. Another five minutes of smoking 40 minute later. The 02 Analyzer was malfunctioning.

Followup: No

Notes: The analyzer was in the process of being replaced.



Cause: There was a leak on the union of the gauge glass. The hydrocracker low pressure distillate drum water booted.

Followup: No

Notes: Nitrogen was put into the drum to displace the gas and the the hole will be repaired.


frac tank
Cause: Level gauge on frac tank failed as tank was being water rinsed in preparation for chemical cleaning.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ exceeded. Water rinse pumps stopped and area barricaded. Vacuum trucks recovered the material. Level on frac tank repaired. Procedures will be adjusted to include visual level verifications. Contaminated soil removed.
Oil: 957.6 pounds

pressure relief valve
pressure relief valves
Cause: An Unexpected shutdown of a hydrocracker was caused by a failed thermocouple. The thermocouple failed, resulting in a low temperature reading, but then began reading erroneously high. The false high temperature reading resulted in the automatic emergency shutdown of the hydrocracking unit. The thermocouple is connected to the emergency shutdown to protect the unit from temperature runaway. The shutdown device reacted as designed.

Followup: No

Notes: Unit was shutdown and area secured. The RQs for flammable vapor, VOCs, H2S, and benzene was exceeded.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 94,114.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 3,415.0 pounds
Benzene: 275.0 pounds

GLA-3X compressor flare
Cause: Level instrument of GLA-3X compressor was plugged which caused the reading to be erroneously high. Compressor tripped which caused pressure to build up and a flare to be emitted.

Followup: No

Notes: Release exceeded RQ. Unit rates decreased to stop flaring. Cause of compressor trip is under investigation. High level alarm is bypassed to prevent recurrence.
Sulfur Dioxide: 5,104.0 pounds
Propylene: 135.0 pounds

atmospheric safety valve
Cause: An atmospheric safety valve was lifted on the Opelousas Natural Gas header at Baton Rouge Refinery. the pressure of the header is maintained through a control valve, which opens to a lower pressure header. The control valve pressure instrument to the low pressure header failed in an open position, causing the pressure in the header to reach the release pressure of the safety valve.

Followup: No

Notes: Pressure instrument was replaced before returning to service. The RQ for flammable vapor was exceeded.
Flammable Vapor: 3,280.0 pounds

Tanks 90, 282, 99, 100, 101, and 261
Cause: A compressor solenoid [computer] in the vapor recovery unit(VRU) developed an electrical short, which caused the VRU to shut down. The shut down caused atmosphere vents on Tanks 90, 282, 99, 100, 101, and 261 to open and relieve excess pressure. Released 2% Benzene and flammable gas.

Followup: No

Notes: Electricians repaired the solenoid and returned the VRU to service. They manually isolated natural gas flow from the tanks. Area around the tanks were monitored with gas test machines (readings below detection limit). Operation personnel monitored the area for odor. The RQs for benzene and flammable vapor were exceeded.
Benzene: 44.0 pounds
Flammable Gas: 2,765.0 pounds

Cause: Pressure instrument failed & resulted in flaring. FLARE.

Followup: No

Notes: BRQ. Below Reportable Quantities.


Cause: Two flaring incidents in one 24hr period: on 8/21, water boot level instrument malfunction on the Hydrocracker Unit Low Pressure Separator Drum D-105; on 8/22, level instrument on Sponge Absorber Tower's reflex drum D-114x failed. These releases exceeded RQ for sulfur dioxide.

Followup: No

Notes: The water boot was isolated and the drum liquid level lowered.
Sulfur Dioxide: 3,084.0 pounds

no information given
Cause: A crack on press instrument leaked propane found on 6/6/10. Later it was found that leak started 16 hours earlier. 4200 pounds of propane released. Reportable Quantities [RQ] exceeded.

Followup: No

Notes: No Information Given. LABB only has access the LDEQ incident report.
Propane: 4,200.0 pounds

PCLA-2 Unit
Cause: The PCLA-2 unit was following start up procedures when one of the unit's air blowers tripped due to an erroneous upstream level instrument reading. Reduced air flow rates caused an increase in light material production, which resulted in a compressor shutting down. This in turn caused hydrocarbon to be sent to the flare system, by design, until unit operations could be restored. The flaring resulted in a sulfur dioxide RQ exceedance. The original amount reported was 969 lbs, but an updated amount increased the estimate to 1,052 pounds of SO2 released..

Followup: Yes

Notes: This release is RQ. Instrument level was adjusted to prevent erroneous readings. A citizen complaint ( T-13243) was also logged in by SPOC [State Police].
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,052.0 pounds

Cause: Facility was called after smoky flare was noticed. A level instrument critical to unit operations that malfunctioned caused flaring. Exceeded RQ for SO2. Follow-up letter states that a recent analysis of the refinery flare system resulted in updated release amount: 1653 lbs

Followup: No

Notes: The unit was shut down to end the release. This incident is under investigation to determine the root cause in order to prevent reoccurrence. This release exceeded the 1,000 pound RQ value for SO2. LDEQ incident report indicate that this incident is #122774 and State police #10-01932. However, the refinery letter indicates that this incident is incident #s 122774, 123224, and 124285 and state police numbers 10-01932, 10-02386, 10-03389.

Sulfur Dioxide: 1,653.0 pounds


None Reported
Cause: Oxygen analyzer of a tank vapor recovery unit stopped reading correctly due to malfunction of a recently replaced internal cell which tripped the VRU compressor.

Followup: No

Notes: Oxygen analyzer repaired and instrument cell re-calibrated. LDEQ report indicates intermittent release of toluene, benzene, xylene, and VOCs. Follow-up from refinery says no emissions since no release vents opened. Therefore, no release occurred as a result of this incident. Related citizen complaint regarding odor to LDEQ: #121473. Inconsistencies in the time in the LDEQ report and the time of the incident in the refinery report.

cooling tower 52
Cause: Potential leak in cooling tower 52. Instrument erroneously reported that a sample taken for testing was nigh in VOCs but further investigation showed there was no release to the cooling tower.

Followup: No

Notes: Samples taken and results were erroneously high. There was no release to the cooling tower. This was confirmed using the El Paso cooling tower sample method.


Gas alarm for Cooling Tower 29
Cause: Gas alarm was plugged causing the alarm to signal erroneously. There was no leaking cooling tower 29.

Followup: No

Notes: Evaluation found that there was no leak and additional sampling confirmed that there was no leak at Cooling Tower 29.


Cooling Tower
Cause: Exxon contacted the state police and East Baton Rouge LEPC about an event that occurred on 9/23/11 at 9:24pm. After further evaluation, they determined that there was no release, and no reportable quantities were exceeded. Routine cooling tower sample results were erroneously high due to laboratory instrument error. Further sampling was completed to confirm no leak occurred.

Followup: No

Notes: Further sampling was completed to confirm no leak occurred.


#52 Cooling Tower
Cause: The leak in #52 cooling tower did not occur. An instrument gave an erroneously high reading of an unknown quantity of hydrocarbons that led the refinery to believe they had a leak. This was confirmed using El Paso cooling tower sample method as approved by the MACT CC compliance testing method.

Followup: No

Notes: There was no release, so it is BRQ.


Cooling Tower CT-53
Cause: There was a false report of a leak of Xylene and VOCs at Cooling Tower CT-53. The false indication was do to a coincident addition of water treatment chemicals to the system. Therefore there was no release and no RQs were exceeded.

Followup: No

Notes: No RQs were exceeded as a result of this event.


Coker unit & furnace F-301 of the Powdered Catalyst Unit (PCLA)
Cause: Two separate incidents occurred, both resulting in a release of sulfur dioxide. Incident #1: According to the refinery letter, "a drum level instrument on the coker unit malfunctioned" falsely indicating that the drum level was high, sending coker overhead gas to the flare system. This was due to a contaminant in the air system. Incident #2: Seal leaks on the F-301 furnace of the Powdered Catalyst Unit (PCLA) caused the release of SO2 to the atmosphere.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ: The first incident released 411 lbs of SO2 and the second released an additional 206 lbs for a combined 617 lbs of sulfur dioxide which exceeds the amount necessary for reportable quantities. Incident #1: To end the release, the drum level instrument was repaired, and the compressor was restarted. As the level instrument malfunctioned due to a contaminant in the instrument air system, filters in the system were replaced and the supply has been restored to prevent recurrence. Incident #2: No solution described in report. Waiting for audit to determine remedial actions.
Sulfur Dioxide: 411.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 206.0 pounds

Cooling tower #32
Cause: Sample results indicated a release to cooling tower #32. The initial test results that indicated possible releases were later found to be erroneous, and there was no release to the cooling tower.

Followup: No

Notes: The refinery letter states that the initial test results were erroneously high, and there was no release to the cooling tower.


Cooling Tower #53
Cause: ExxonMobil Baton Rouge erroneously notified LA State Police and LDEQ regarding a potential release from cooling tower #53. After further testing of the cooling tower water, it was determined that the initial test results gave a false indication of a leak due to coincident addition of water treatment chemicals to the system.

Followup: No

Notes: The El Paso cooling tower sample method was used to verify a false indication of a leak in cooling tower #53.


PHLA unit T-2 tower
Cause: Normal operating overhead pressure was exceeded on the PHLA unit T-2 tower due to a pressure controller valve malfunction.

Followup: No

Notes: The bypass valve was opened to reduce tower pressure, the safety valve was reset, and the unit was returned to normal operating conditions. The pressure controller instrument was replaced immediately following the event. Only the reportable quantity for flammable vapor was exceeded.
Hexane: 8.9 pounds
Benzene: 6.6 pounds
Flammable Vapor: 2,220.0 pounds

GLA-1X Compressor at PCLA unit
Cause: On 7/4/2014 the GLA-1X compressor at the PCLA unit experiences an unplanned shut down, causing material to be released to the site's flare gas system. As a result of water entering a flow meter, the meter reading incorrectly held constant while the flow increased. This led to a rapid increase in the compressor distillate drum level and when the emergency high level was reached, the protective system tripped the compressor, leading the the flaring of sulfur dioxide.

Followup: No

Notes: Immediately upon compressor shut down, the flow meter was repaired and the compressor was restarted. Further actions to prevent recurrence are the implementation of an alarm notification to notify operations team of flow rate deviations and valve position.
Sulfur Dioxide: 2,611.0 pounds