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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Causal Factor: Human Factors

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

Charge gas compressor

Followup: No

Notes: They had an upset on a charge gas compressor and had to flare. They shut off the valve to stop the flaring. LDEQ received Exxon's report on 11/7/08. The release to the flare occurred as a result of incorrect pressure set point of the flare relief valve on the compressor suction. It was lowered during a previous upset and inadvertently not changed to the normal operating conidtions. Deferred until next inspection. Initial report says 120 lbs of ethylene were released but later report says 104 lbs. RQs exceeded for ethylene.
: 36.0 pounds
: 120.0 pounds

No Information Given
Cause: Spill occurred when operator drained material to a green sewer preparing equipment for maintenance.

Followup: No

Notes: 10 gal of 80% benzene was discharged into a green sewer line leading to the in plant sewer system due to an operator error. Release occurred for approximately 10 min. SPOC report says that the operator was preparing equipment for mechanical work. SPOC report also says that the release was 74 lbs (about RQs).


Drain valves on flare gas compressor
Cause: Drain valves were left open on their flare gas compressor.

Followup: No

Notes: Drain valves have been blocked in. No RQs were exceeded.


ammonia scrubber water control valve
Cause: The Baton Rouge Chemical Plant is permitted under permit number 2390-V2 to unload ammonia railcars. The resulting ammonia emissions are routed through an ammonia water scrubber before emitting from vent stack V-462. On November 17, 2012, the ammonia scrubber water control valve was inadvertently placed in manual control. The valve remained closed until discovery on January 11, 2013.

Followup: No

Notes: Additional training, alarm management, and stewardship will be instituted to prevent recurrence.
Ammonia: 619.1 pounds

South railcar unloading rack from Railcar No. MOBX26060
Cause: An operator attempted to collect a routine product quality sample from a hose connected to the belly of the railcar valve. The valve was not closed successfully and lubricating oil was released onto limestone.

Followup: No

Notes: The valve was closed. Liquid oil was recovered and pumped into a product tank. The residual oil was cleaned up using absorbent materials. The oil that was discharged on the ground outside the containment was excavated and properly disposed in permitted landfill. The operator was retrained on proper sampling techniques and refresher training for all operators will be conducted. Railcar vendors have been contacted with the intention of replacing older style valves with the more common valve types used today.
Lubricating Oil: 1,172.0 gallons

Tank SP 1774
Cause: Valve was left open on tank AP 1774 and product spilled to the ground.

Followup: No

Notes: Release discovered at 6:20 AM. Personnel discovered fresh caustic coming from a hose connected to an open bleeder. The bleeder was inadvertently left open while returning piping to service. Upon discovery, the bleeder was immediately blocked in. The release was stopped within 2 min of discovery. A total of 11,000 gallons of 10% fresh caustic material was spilled to soil. This event resulted in 10,197 lbs of sodium hydroxide released to soil. All material was contained within the tank containment dike and was routed through the wastewater treatment recovery unit. Upon discovery, the bleeder was blocked in and soil remediation was initiated. To prevent recurence the plant said they would review and enforce site standards for inspecting piping prior to returning to service. The contaminated soil was removed and no groundwater impacts were expected. RQ exceeded for sodium hydroxide. LDEQ report says tank AP1774 but SPOC report says tank SP1774.
Sodium Hydroxide: 10,197.0 pounds
Caustic Alkali Liquids: 1,600.0 pounds

Isopropyl Alcohol Unit
Cause: On February 24, 2014, the Exxon-Mobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant experienced a propylene leak on the isopropyl alcohol unit (IAU). Upon notification of an odor in the unit area, unit personnel discovered propylene leaking from a pinhole in a weld. The leak was immediately isolated and the unit was shut down to minimize environmental impact.

Followup: No

Notes: The leak was immediately isolated and the unit was shut down to minimize environmental impact.
Propylene: 10,931.0 pounds


Cause: On February 15, 2014 at approximately 12:46 AM, a sample station at TK1661 was discovered left open following a sample collection. As a result, liquid 1,3-butadiene was released into a flare drum and to the flare header.

Followup: No

Notes: According to the refinery letter on February 21, 2014, the incident was ongoing, with the release initially 400 pounds per day, to 13.5 pounds per day, and then less than 10 pounds per day after the flare gas recovery compressors were put in service. The flare gas recovery compressors were put in service to recover the butadiene and minimize air emissions. To prevent recurrence, the sampling procedure will be updated to emphasize proper sampling of the 1661 line. Letter on 2/22 states that Industrial Hygiene personnel from the plant will conduct fenceline monitoring throughout the duration of the event.