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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Causal Factor: Corrosion

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release

Cause: A leak was discovered in the line used to transfer IPA tail gas, which is primarily liquid propane, to the Poly unit. The cause was determined to be localized internal corrosion.


Notes: The leaking section of the line was blocked in and water spray was applied to the leak to help minimize the vapors. Line-up changes were made so that this section of line could be depressurized to the flare system. A section of pipe, approximately 30 feet long, has been replaced. Ultrasonic measurements of additional elbows, low points, and horizontal sections of the pipe were taken. No other potential areas of corrosion were detected.
Propylene: 180.0 pounds
Propane: 1,730.0 pounds

WBT 01 Tower
Cause: Small hole on WBT 01 Tower. This is an absorber tower which contains flammable gas. On examining the hole in the tower they shut it down.

Followup: No

Notes: Immediately feed was cut out of the tower, water spray was applied to the leak to help minimize the vapors, and the weep hole was plugged. The area surrounding the leak was ultrasonically tested and found to be of acceptable thickness. A more intense UT scan was performed over the entire vessel and confirmed to be of acceptable thickness. The leaking tell-tale hole was plugged per mechanical design standards. About 1/3 of the vessel is being sand-blasted and visually inspected to verify that there are not any unplugged tell-tale holes remaining.
: 2,792.0 pounds
: 511.0 pounds
: 179.0 pounds
: 1,448.0 pounds
: 965.0 pounds

Line leak on Carbon scrubber tower
Cause: Internal corrosion was the cause of the leak

Followup: No

Notes: Will exceed over one thousand pounds per hour. Shut down the unit and depressurized to stop leak. Leaking portion of the line was replaced.
: 4,610.0 pounds

E206 Exchanger in the Aromatics Unit
Cause: Leak coming from the cooling tower. While backwashing the heat exchangers in the BHELA unit a hydrocarbon sheen was observed in the wash water indicating a leaking heat exchanger. The reason was internal corrosion and could not be anticipated.

Followup: No

Notes: Exchanger tubes will be repairs and replaced before putting back into service. Benzene release exceeded reportable quantities.
Benzene: 30.0 pounds


corroded line that ties into bleeder valve
Cause: Corroded line that ties into a bleeder valve started leaking

Followup: No

Notes: The line was isolated. Cleaned up with absorbent pads. Also clean up crew was en route to clean up the soil in containment area.
Benzene: 10.0 pounds
Napthalene: 100.0 pounds
Xylene: 100.0 pounds

compressor piping
Cause: The Ethylene Purification Unit was being surveyed using an optical imaging "HAWK" camera when a pinhole leak was detected coming from a pipe.

Followup: No

Notes: On 10/3/10 around 8:15 pm the plant experienced a propylene release. Because of the location of the release, scaffolding was required to allow access of the pipe. A clamp was installed on the pipe, which ended the release. A permanent repair was being evaluated. The release was due to unanticipated corrosion. RQs for propylene were exceeded.
Propylene: 278.0 pounds

Halobutyl Unit flare line
Cause: Crack in the line was discovered on a Halobutyl Unit Flare. It was a nonpreventable released caused by unanticipated corrosion.

Followup: No

Notes: Upon discovery, temporary clamps were installed to end the release and close the potential emission sources. A permanent repair plan is being developed. This incident was caused by unanticipated corrosion. Exceeded RQs.
Propylene: 329.0 pounds
Flammable Vapor: 1,809.0 pounds

Cause: Corrosion on a valve caused a leak.

Followup: No

Notes: Report says no RQs were exceeded.
Sulfuric Acid: 30.0 gallons

Piping from BELA-5
Cause: On August 4 at approximately 8:47 AM, a leak of butadiene was detected ont he butadiene extraction unit (BELA-5) at the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant (BRCP). Follow-up response using a thermal camera revealed butadiene leaking from insulated piping. Immediately upon discovery of the leak, a controlled shutdown of the BELA-5 unit was initiated. Final investigation results indicate the leak was caused by external corrosion. The leaking pipe and insulation were replaced prior to unit startup.

Followup: Yes

Notes: A controlled shutdown of the BELA-5 unit was executed upon discovery of the leak. As part of the shutdown, the piping was isolated and removed from service to stop the leak. To prevent recurrence, the leaking pipe and insulation were replaced prior to unit startup.
1,3-Butadiene: 38.0 pounds

Cause: On Friday, May 24, 2013, a leak of dimethyl formamide (DMF) solvent was detected on the butadiene recovery unit (BELA-5) and reported. Initial estimates indicated that the atmospheric leak rate exceeded the 100 lbs/day reportable quantity for DMF. Further refinement of the leak rate estimate has determined that the leak rate is below the reportable quantity amount. As discussed with LDEQ, BRCP has been working toward a controlled shutdown of the BELA-5 unit. Based on the current state of planning, the earliest the unit will be ready to shutdown is June 6-9, 2013. The unit was safely shutdown on June 6, 2013 as planned. The leak occurred due to the corrosive nature of the process material combined with a weld defect on a thermowell. The leak rate was monitored routinely and never exceeded the RQ amount.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The material is currently being collected in a barrel and rerouted back to the unit until permanent repairs are completed. ExxonMobil is currently planning to execute a controlled shutdown of the BELA-5 unit between June 6-9, 2013, and permanent repairs will be completed during this time. Permanent repairs were completed prior to unit startup.


T-7 Tower
Cause: On May 21, the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant RLA-1 unit experienced a leak on T-7 Tower due to corrosion under insulation. After further investigation a leaking thermowell was found on the bottom section of T-7.

Followup: No

Notes: Immediate remedial action was to isolate tower feed and hydrocarbon was removed from the vessel. ExxonMobil has inspected other similar plugs on the tower for potential corrosion and all findings indicate no corrosion. A Thermal Spray Aluminum coating has been applied to the thermowell to prevent further corrosion under insulation. There were no injuries, complaints, or offsite impact as a result of incident.
Methyl Chloride: 810.0 pounds

Cause: On Sept 12, 2014 the ICLA unit experiences a pinhole leak on a tower suction line as a result of internal corrosion.

Followup: No

Notes: Upon discovery, feed to the unit was isolated. To prevent recurrence, the refinery plans to increase the inspection frequency of this piping circuit and explore the feasibility of using an alloy piping option.
Propylene: 324.0 pounds