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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Causal Factor: Power Failure

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

Storage Tank
Advanced Wastewater Treatment Unit
Cause: BRCP Flaring During Shutdown: On September 1, the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant began to safely shutdown operations due to power failures associated with Hurricane Gustav. During shutdown, excess gases were vented to the flare system in order to reduce emissions to the atmosphere. Baton Rouge Turbine Generator NOx steam trip: ExxonMobil experienced difficulty providing NOx suppression steam for our BRTG. Condensate is required to desuperheat the NOx suppression steam prior to using it in the BRTG. The normal condensate supply from operating units to provide desuperheater water is unavailable as these units are down. Temporary demin trailers were used to help provide an interim source of condensate to mitigate the loss of NOx suppression steam, but were unable to continuously supply the condensate for NOx steam to BRTG. Nitrogen blanketing for tanks on vapor recovery: The lack of nitrogen availability has also created a temporary loss of nitrogen blanketing for storage tanks on vapor recovery. Loss of nitrogen blanketing means that air will be pulled into the tank which is unacceptable from a hazard risk standpoint. The tanks without nitrogen blanketing must be blocked away from vapor recovery because it is unsafe to vent oxygen to a fuel gas or flare gas system due to the potential of creating an explosive mixture. Exxon shut down the vapor recovery controls when the site lost nitrogen. Once nitrogen is restored, Exxon will restart vapor recovery systems. Once normal operations are resumed, Exxon will report total excess emissions and duration of vapor recovery outages for affected tanks. Two hatches found open: Two tank hatches were found open after the hurricane was over. These tank hatches were blown open when wind speeds were highest (>90 mph) during the hurricane. Tank hatches must remain closed to prevent emissions; as such, these incidents are considered bypassing of a control device. The estimated emissions from these open tank hatches are below RQ amounts. AWT overflow to Monte Sano Bayou: The separator at the Advanced Wastewater Treatment unit overflowed to the Monte Sano Bayou. The incident occurred when the pumps lost power and could not pump down the level in the separator. Approximately 1300 gallons of untreated wastewater was discharged in to the bayou. Power to the pumps was restored and the level in the separator was pumped down to stop the overflow to the bayou. The composition of the discharged wastewater is unknown at this time due to a disruption in laboratory samples as a result of the hurricane.

Followup: Yes

Notes: BRCP was shutdown due to hurricane Gustav.
Nitrogen Oxide: 1,342.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide: 149.1 pounds
Benzene: 88.0 pounds
1,3-Butadiene: 79.0 pounds
Ethylene: 1,169.0 pounds
Propylene: 6,915.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 12,612.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 5,054.0 pounds
Benzene: 166.0 pounds
Cumene: 12.8 pounds
n-Hexane: 406.0 pounds
Styrene: 19.3 pounds
Toluene: 23.0 pounds
Xylene: 13.0 pounds
Methyl Ethyl Ketone: 1.8 pounds
Wastewater: 1,300.0 gallons

Cause: As a result of Hurricane Gustav the Baton Rouge Resins Finishing Plant (BRFP) experienced significant facility damage and power interruptions that required operations to safely shutdown. Hurricane Gustav is clearly considered an "act of god." The Baton Rouge Resin Finishing Plant only had generators for electrical power to maintain a small number of instruments and critical pumps. There was no power available for the compressors that collect vent gases from storage tanks and route them to the site's flare. The seal leg on the flare seal drum prevented the relatively small breathing losses from reaching the flare for combustion. The flare pilots were extinguished during the storm but we have established the ability to relight it. However due to natural gas supply availability and the inability to route the vent streams to the flare tip we elected to allow the flare pilots to remain unlit until we restored power to the vapor recovery compressors. Power was restored to BRFP at 230 pm on 9/6/08 and the flare pilots were relit. All tanks that were venting to the atmosphere were routed to the flare.

Followup: No

Notes: BRFP was safely and systematically shutdown due to hurricane Gustav. Learning from this event will be incorporated into future hurricane preparations. BRFP was unable to complete some of the timing obligations due to Hurricane Gustav. It has prevented from meeting all the timing obligations of the required September monitoring. At the time the primary focus of mechanical resources was on storm related repairs to enable safe startup of unit operations. The plant was to accomplish the LDAR monitoring within the next 60 days. In addition, the availability of parts is also a difficult logistics problem so the focus was on their resources toward startup. BRFP was safely and systematically shutdown due to Hurricane Gustav. Learnings from this event will be incorporated into future hurricane preparations. .
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 3,800.0 pounds
Benzene: 23.0 pounds
Hexane: 584.0 pounds
Toluene: 2.0 pounds
Cumene: 1.0 pounds
Ethylbenzene: 1.0 pounds
Styrene: 1.0 pounds
Xylene: 1.0 pounds

No Information Given
Cause: Caused by a loss of power.

Followup: No

Notes: Release was being consumed in a furnace. No other information available at time of report. Amount of hydrogen sulfide released was unknown.


Cause: Approximately 15 pounds of benzene was released due to an overpressured seal (BD-106) following a power flip at Louisiana Station.

Followup: No

Notes: Initial report dated 3/2/2011 reported of a release of approximately 15 pounds of benzene. Subsequently, written notification dated 3/3/2011 claims no reportable quantities were exceed. No material was released from blow down drum BD-106, as the drum maintained positive seal pressure throughout the event.
Benzene: 15.0 pounds

Ethylene Refrigeration Compressor

Cause: On October 5, 2013 at approximately 9:15 Am, the Ethylene Refrigeration compressor motor shut down, causing material to be released to the site's flare gas system. Preliminary investigation indicates the electrical motor shut down due to momentary low voltage resulting from a bird landing on an electrical transformer and causing an electrical fault. A detailed investigation is underway to confirm the root cause of the power trip and determine recommendations to prevent recurrence.

Followup: No

Notes: Feed was quickly and safely removed from furnaces upstream of the compressor to minimize the load on the flare system and emissions to the atmosphere. Air monitoring was conducted frequently on October 5, 2013 and all results were below the level of detection. A detailed investigation is underway to confirm the root cause of the power trip and determine recommendations to prevent recurrence.
Propylene: 2,028.0 pounds
Ethylene: 7,392.0 pounds
Butadiene: 249.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 4,648.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 23,626.0 pounds


Flare Stack
Cause: A possible release of ethylene, propylene, Butadiene, benzene, and VOCs from a flaring incident coming from flare stack. Had an electrical glitch lead to a unit upset that lead to a flaring.

Followup: No

Notes: Air monitoring of the fence line. Initial notification states that ethylene, propylene, 1,3, butadiene, benzene and VOCs were released. Refinery letter states that only ethylene was released.
Ethylene: 69.0 pounds