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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Releases of Butane

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
107433

2008-07-22

H furnace
Cause: Three events occurred within 24 hours of one another at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant. Two are reported in this report (LDEQ #107433), the other is reported separately (LDEQ #107421). In this incident (107433), a furnace tube leaked into convection section of H-furnace and caught fire. The tube leak occurred as a result of the incident described in report #107421. At approximately 5:56 PM on July 21, 2008, the charge gas compressor at the Olefins unit shut down when several processing cards in the gas turbine control system failed. When the compressor shut down, four furnaces automatically shut down and the gas in the furnaces was evacuated to the flare system. One of the remaining three furnaces was subsequently shut down while the remaining two furnaces continued to operated at 50% rates in order to maintain stable unit operations, which resulted in additional flaring for the duration of the event. The high rate of gas to the flare system resulted in the #25 flare smoking for 2 hours and 17 minutes. When the Olefins unit shut down, steam was introduced into the furnaces to displace the hydrocarbon feed to reduce flaring emissions. At 12:20 PM on July 22, 2008, while the H furnace was in the process of starting up, a leak was discovered in the convection section of the furnace. To stop the leak, water was introduced into the leaking pass of the furnace to displace the hydrocarbon feed. It is believed that the leak developed when steam was introduced into the furnace. Tube leaked into convection section of H-furnace and caught fire.

Followup: Yes

Notes: This incident is the result of the incident #107421 (see comments under that incident). Immediately after the incident began, five of the seven furnaces at the Olefins unit were shut down. Excess gas was sent to flare system. Water was introduced into the leaking furnace pass to displace the feed and prevent uncombusted hydrocarbons from leaking into the atmosphere. Concerning subsequent preventative actions, the failed processing cards were replaced. The H furnace was taken out of service to be inspected for leak location and repairs will be completed as necessary. Used water in the tube to eliminate the burning material. Flammable gass consisted of mainly Butane.
2.0 pounds
116503

2009-07-16
Pipe on valve stem
Cause: Packing leak on a valve stem which has a hand wheel was the source.

Followup: No

Notes: They were trying to stop the leak by repacking the valve. Written report was received by LDEQ but was not included in this report. Report stated that no RQs were exceeded.
113260

2009-03-09

WILA tanks #8 and 9
Cause: The release was caused by the pumping of low flash material into WILA Tanks 8 and 9. The material evolved a greater amount of vapor than the tank's vapor recovery system could manage. The evolution of the vapor caused the pressure in the tanks to exceed that of the pressure vent set point.

Followup: No

Notes: Introduction of low flash point material into these tanks was immediately halted. They could not expect the flash material to evolve too much vapors. Tanks could not handle the vapors and valve lifted. Operators will be trained to communicate better to prevent the overpressure happening again. RQs exceeded for benzene. Total release of hydrocarbons is 600 pounds.
4.0 pounds
112825

2009-02-17
EPLA-W Compressor, flares #10, 25, and 26
Flares #10, 25, and 26
Cause: A fire resulted in a compressor shut down and material being flared from 10:30 pm - 11 pm. Around 10:30 pm the charge gas compressor (EPLA-W compressor) for the Olefins Maintrain furnaces tripped due to failed overspeed wiring. This occurred because of a small leak of lube oil from the steam driver which caught fire. This fire was small but close to the wiring which malfunctioned.

Followup: No

Notes: This incident is linked to incident #112824. The effluent gases were diverted to flares before the compressor could be repaired. Start up began around 8:45 pm on 2/18/09. Flaring during shut down through start up resulted in exceedances of RQs for ethylene, propylene, butadiene, nitric oxide, and sulfur dioxide. Also they had three compliance excursions from smoking of flares #10, #25, and #26. This was a non preventable incident from a malfunction. They are looking into preventing lube oil leaking and collecting near compressor wiring.
24.0 pounds
126520

2010-09-21
Tank #BD24 at MEK unit
Cause: A leak developed on top of tank #BD24 at the MEK unit.

Followup: No

Notes: Operators quickly shut down the tank. Fire monitors are spraying water to suppress vapors. They will depressurize the tank and fill with water to isolate the release. Medical personnel checked out operators with possible exposures. This took place at MEK Unit which is responsible for producing Methyl Ethyl Ketones.
126419

2010-09-15
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.
1,000.0 pounds
135181

2011-11-09
compressor KC-01
Cause: A combination release occurred due to a cracked pipe in the thermo well of the ethylene production unit.

Followup: Yes

Notes: An engineered clamp is being fabricated and will be installed to isolate the leak. Estimated 72 hours to install clamp and secure leak. Individually this event did not exceed the RQ for HRVOC, but in combination with another incident (#11-07037) the RQ for HRVOC was exceeded on Friday, November 11. Approximately 122 pounds of HRVOC's were released. On November 11, 2011 at approximately 13:51 Derek Reese stated the ongoing release subsided to 4.25 lbs/hr and was now below RQ. (still ongoing on report date 11/16/11) Area monitoring and LDEQ monitoring on the fenceline (including grab sample) did not detect anything. LDEQ did pick up .25ppb of Benzene. A total of 108 pounds per day of charge gas is being released as a result of this event. Cumulative emissions which include the total emissions from the incident and complete response, will be included in the follow-up report.
47.0 pounds