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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Causal Factor: Seal or Gasket

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

flare seal drum
Cause: Release from a very small pinhole leak in a ten-inch header to a flare seal drum.


Notes: Amount of pollutants released is unknown. Believe that the amount of release will not break the RQ but are unsure.


Cause: An assistant operator found a flange on a level instrument tap leaking at the top of a tower. Immediately the tower feed was shut off, and the operator began to controllably depressure the tower to the flare system so that the leak could be repaired.


Notes: Immediately feed was cut out of the tower. It was depressured as quickly as possible so that the leak could be repaired. The flange gasket has been replaced. Per ExxonMobil Chemical's usual procedures, the next time the tower is scheduled to go on turnaround at the end of 2006, all the tower gaskets will be replaced.
Propane: 280.2 pounds
Propylene: 117.2 pounds
Isopropyl Ether: 4.0 pounds

Pump seal
Cause: A pump seal is leaking.


Notes: They put water spray on to keep it confined to the area. Amount of benzene released is unknown.


Cause: Found a pinhole leak in a flange.

Followup: No

Notes: Secured it by shutting pump down and blocking in the release.
Butylene: 212.0 pounds


Pump seal on processing unit
Cause: While making rounds on the unit, Aromatics operations personnel discovered a pump seal leaking to concrete containment and to the sewer.

Followup: No

Notes: Operations shut down the pump and blocked it away from the process stopping the leak. The pump seal will be replaced.
Benzene: 18.0 pounds
Toluene: 3.0 pounds
Xylene: 0.1 pounds
C6 Paraffins: 90.0 pounds

T2 Tower, flange
Cause: On Xylene Recover Unit a flange on control valve on T2 Tower had vibration, causing it to leak.

Followup: No

Notes: Xylene did not exceed its RQ but 16 lbs of HRVOC added to 88 lbs of Xylene exceeded RQ on HRVOC.
Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds: 16.0 pounds
Xylene: 88.0 pounds

Hatch on rail car
Cause: They are loading rail cars. There is a leaking hatch on a rail car.


Notes: They applied a water spray down wind. They are replacing the seal.
Ammonia: 100.0 pounds

gasket on flange on exchanger
Cause: A leaking gasket on a flange on an exchanger is releasing butene


Notes: At time of report: They have a potential to exceed the RQ of 1000 pounds of flammable gas in the next 12 to 14 hours. Delay in notification because they hadn't exceeded RQ. They had made an attempt to repair the leak, which failed. They are getting ready to make another attempt. Amount of Butene released is unknown.


Tower 101
Cause: Release was from the safety on Tower T101. It blew to drum D 106. That drum has a water seal on it that broke causing the vapors to release.

Followup: No

Notes: Exxon called SPOC to inform that they reached RQ for Benzene and Toluene was in the stream. Based on their data, they had no approached the flammable vapor RQ of 1000 lbs. The immediate area by the release had been evacuted internally. Caller stated at 4:39 pm an announcement of All Clear for evacuation and shelter in place was made. Air monitoring had started inside and was working towards perimeter. Airmatics is the name of the porcess unit. Just SPOC report.
Benzene: 160.0 pounds
Toluene: 20.0 pounds

pump seal
Cause: Pump seal failed causing a release of Benzene to concrete inside of containment area.

Followup: No

Notes: Pump seal failed causing a release of benzene to concrete inside of containment area. Pump was shut down and benzene was washed out. Report says no RQs were exceeded but 10 b is the RQ for benzene.
Benzene: 10.0 pounds

Flange on a reactor
Cause: Flange leak on a reactor.

Followup: No

Notes: They shut down the reactor to stop the leak. Propane is the chemical involved. Report said no RQ exceedences from this leak.


Tanks #957, 991, 791, 792
Cause: Leaking emergency hatch on tank #791, 792, 957, 991.

Followup: No

Notes: Leaking emergency hatch on tanks 791, 792, 957, and 991. Leak rate was approximately 100 PPH per tank. They were trying to get them fixed. A copy of the written report dated 3/17/09 was faxed to LDEQ. Report said no RQs were exceeded during this release.


Cause: They have a blind flange leaking hydrogen and flammable gases.

Followup: No

Notes: At time of report they tried to tighten the flange, but the leak continued.


flange on T2
Cause: They had a gasket blow out on a flange on T2 overhead.


Notes: They are tightening down on the flange. Over 1000 pounds of propane released.
Propane: 1,000.0 pounds

flange on exchanger
Cause: A flange leaked on an exchanger during start up operation of a unit.

Followup: No

Notes: No additional information given.
Propylene: 672.0 pounds

E506B exchanger
Exchanger 506B
Cause: In the Aromatics Unit during the preparation of an overhead condensor for mechanical work. Prior to the leak, steam was introduced to the exchanger to free the exchanger of hydrocarbon. When steam was introduced, the channel box gasket failed.

Followup: No

Notes: A gasket leak occurred on exchanger E 506 B. Most of the release went to the sewer and some may have evaportated into the air. Gasket was isolated and secured. During the preparation of an overhead condenser for mechanical work stem was introduced to the exchanger per procedure to free the BOCs but the gasket failed and released hydrocarbon on to the concrete pad. It was 60% benzene and all had evaporated. Estimated 44 lbs of total release (over RQ). Non preventable release.
Benzene: 44.0 pounds
Toluene: 29.0 pounds

E-200 Exchanger
Cause: E-200 exchanger had a leak.

Followup: No

Notes: Originally thought Benzene was released from exchanger. Later reports indicate that only steam was released and no benzene. They tightened the head in order to stop the release.


Seal on vapor recovery system
Cause: A seal malfunction corrected itself.

Followup: No

Notes: A potential maximum of 10 pounds of Benzene could have been released but the calculations had not been completed by the time of the call. Incident initiated and comments added during file review after inspection of Exxon Refinery on 8/31/11. This incident occurred at the Exxon Chemical plant. According to a written notificated faxed from Exxon Corp, there was promt incident response to mitigate the event durations, they have determined that no RQS were exceeded. The NRC notification regarding this event was made greater than 1 hour after incident discovery due to telephone difficulties.


Exchanger #E301 on oxo-alcohol unit
Cause: The oxo-alcohol unit has a heptene leak at the exchanger.

Followup: No

Notes: Leak was noted at 9 pm and was leaking at 100 lbs/hr. They used steam to volatilize/knockdown the heptene to keep it in a localized area. The facility did not have a shelter in place and the chemical did not leave the facility. Plant called because they believed the RQ might be exceeded before the repair was complete. Due to no reported excursion of chemical from the plant and no shelted in place no response was deemed necessary at that time. LDEQ requested that any change in situation be notified to re-evaluate the situation and required response. The plant's written report said no reportable quantities were exceeded.


WSD 10 drum
Cause: Leak in the WSD 10 Drum

Followup: No

Notes: Initial report of a release of an unknown quantity of propylene due to a leak in the WSD 10 Drum. A written report from Exxon stated that no reportable quantities were exceeded.


Methyl Ethyl Ketone unit
Cause: Nozzle on the drum leaked on the methyl ethyl ketone unit.

Followup: No

Notes: Fire water was used to disburse vapors. Estimated quantity of butane release was greater than 1000 lbs. No RQs were exceeded.
Butane: 1,000.0 pounds

Cause: Ground level flange leake. Air monitoring in the area showed readings which required isolation of the area. Perimeter monitoring showed no detect.

Followup: No

Notes: Plant workers tightened the flange. Mr. Ernesto Johnson stated that the fresh air breathing trailer was going to be utilized for the plant workers to tighten the flange. Inconsistency in the reported quantity released - there was no written notification from the facility to clarify the quantity - the original SPOC verbal notification stated the benzene was being released at about 12 lbs per hour (which would be closer to 24lbs total quantity) but the report stated 6 lbs was the total.
Benzene: 6.0 pounds

Aromatics unit
Cause: Loose water seal on a flare blowdown drum BD-106 of the Aromatics unit caused a Benzene release.

Followup: No

Notes: No information given. Four people were sent to Medical as a standard for being in the area. All four were asymptomatic.
Benzene: 4.6 pounds

reactor flange
Cause: Small flange leaking on a reactor. Release believed to releasing <1lb per hour and could exceed the 100lb RQ for Methyl Chloride. Less than one pound of catalyst was released.

Followup: No

Notes: Flange was isolated then repaired.


exchanger head
Cause: Leak found on the head plant of an exchanger. Approximately 52lbs of propylene and 3lbs of propane.

Followup: No

Notes: Prompt incident response to mitigate the event duration, no reportable quantities were exceeded.
Propylene: 52.0 pounds
Propane: 3.0 pounds

Cause: Prior to March 19, 2011 the South Ethylene Purification Unit was isolated for mechanical work. On March 20, 2011, and exchanger developed a head leak during start up operations. On March 30, 2011, the Poly unit developed a leak from a ring join flange.

Followup: No

Notes: To end the release, the flange was isolated. To end the EPLA-S pot venting, the vents were directed to the flare system. To end the EPLA-S exchanger head leak, the head was tightened and teh equipment brought to normal operating temperatures. To end the Poly T-2 release, the flange was isolated.
Propylene: 2,218.0 pounds
Ethylene: 1,282.0 pounds

Clamp on Aromatics Unit

Followup: No

Notes: Initial report says there was more than 10 lbs of benzene released when a clamp on a drum maniford on the aromatics unit began leaking. The unit personnel discovered the leak during normal rounds. They collected the material into a 3'x3' catch plan and recovered the spilt material with an onsite vacuum truck. Industrial Hygiene conducted air monitoring during the event and no offsite impacts were noted. Approximately 1/2 gallon of material was released and 2 lbs of benzene were released to air.
: 2.0 pounds

Neo Acids Unit Instrument Tubing
Cause: A leak was discovered on an instrument tubing valve at the Neo Acids unit. The unit was shut down to isolate the leak.

Followup: No

Notes: The unit was shut down to isolate the leak. After further evaluation, Exxon Chemical determined that no RQs were exceeded. Less than one pound of flammable vapor was released as a result of this event. Initial correspondence with LDEQ indicate an unknown amount of carbon monoxide gas and hydrogen gas were released. The refinery letter later indicated that only flammable vapor was released.
Flammable Vapor: 1.0 pounds

valve of reactor KR-01B
Cause: A leak was discovered on the outlet valve of reactor KR-01B at the Escornez unit.

Followup: No

Notes: LDEQ initially reports that hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and xylene were released, but later reports that only approximately 4 pounds of flammable vapor were released as a result of this event.
Flammable Vapor: 4.0 pounds


seal on pump WMP07A
Cause: At 2:54am on August 4, 2012, the seal on pump WMP07A was discovered leaking isopropyl ether into secondary containment. Approximately 10 gallons of material leaked through a crack in the secondary containment onto the soil. Due to the nature of the isopropyl ether released of Approximately 1033 pounds of flammable vapor were released into the air.

Followup: No

Notes: Upon discovery the pump was immediately isolated and removed from service. The pump has been replaced and ExxonMobil is working with pump specialist to evaluate the specifications of the pump. Approximately 20 gallons of isopropyl ether were recovered from the sewer. Since 10 gallons were released to the soil with the the remaining material released into the sewer system (since ~20 gallons were recovered from the sewer there must have been at least 30 gallons total between soil and sewer). Only 4.7 gallons were reported. Approximately 1033 pounds of flammable vapor were released into the air. Upon discovery, the pump was isolated and removed from service. Air monitoring was conducted at 32nd (VOC <7ppm) and 29th (VOC <2ppm) streets along avenue A. There were no injuries, complaints, or offsite impact as a result of this incident.
Flammable Vapor: 1,033.0 pounds
Isopropyl Ether: 4.7 gallons

KND-72 seal oil drum
Cause: A leaking union was discovered on KND-72 seal oil drum.


Notes: They have determined that no reportable quantities were exceeded.
1,3-Butadiene: 4.4 pounds
Benzene: 2.7 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 76.1 pounds

flange between two pipes
Cause: On October 11, bromine was released to the air due to a leaking flange between two pipes.

Followup: No

Notes: Due to prompt incident response to mitigate the event duration, no reportable quantities were exceeded.
bromine: 178.0 pounds

seal on unit pump, EFP-60A

Cause: On April 2, 2013 the Neo Acids unit pump, EFP-60A, seal developed a leak releasing approximately 50 gallons of therminol to the sewer. Of which approximately 110 pounds were biphenyl.

Followup: No

Notes: All of the material released remained in the liquid phase and no evaporation of the material occurred. After further evaluation, it was determined that no reportable quantities were exceeded.
Biphenyl: 110.0 pounds



Cause: The Ethylene Purification Unit experienced an unanticipated atmospheric safety valve lifting prior to reaching its set point for approximately 26 minutes. Unanticipated safety valve was due to a broken O-ring causing material to be released into atmosphere.


Notes: The safety valve was immediately blocked upon discovery. To return the unit to normal operating conditions, the DeEthanizer overhead and splitter bottoms were flared. To prevent recurrence, the preventative maintenance frequency of the atmospheric safety valve will be increased, and ExxonMobil engineers are evaluating potential upgraded material type for the O-ring.
Propylene: 35,590.0 pounds
Flammable Vapor: 37,820.0 pounds


Cause: Release occurred due to failure of a control valve for a splitter tower in the Ethylene Purification Louisiana South Unit (EPLA).


Notes: Valve was in the process of being repaired. Feed to the unit was cut to reduce material going to the flare while air monitoring was conducted around the perimeter of the facility.
Ethylene: 43.4 pounds


inlet flange of a safety at the Escorez unit
Cause: A leak was discovered on the inlet flange of a safety at the Escorez unit. After further evaluation Exxon determined that no reportable quantities were exceeded. Approximately 375 pounds of flammable vapor was released as result of this event.

Followup: No

Notes: No information given
Flammable Vapor: 375.0 pounds