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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Releases of Ethane

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

#4 Mox Boiler
Cause: Their #4 Mox boiler has a mechanically operated valve that opens at high pressure. High pressure in the line caused it to open, but they do not know what caused the high pressure yet.


Notes: It was determined that Ethane, Methane, and Propylene were the chemicals involved in the fire. They believe they exceeded the RQ for VOC's.

Cause: They had a failure on a control valve, causing a safety valve release to the flare. The failure was due to a system overpressure.


Notes: The flaring has stopped. The control valve is being repaired.
0.9 pounds

RGR Unit

Followup: No

Notes: RGR Unit start up. Believed that flaring would occur throughout the night. Due to hurricane Gustav the flaring during RGR start up was extensive and a variation was obtained. Report says no RQs exceeded from this flaring.

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.
126.0 pounds

Furnace tube
Cause: A tube inside a furnace ruptured and allowed the leak.

Followup: No

Notes: The furnace consumed the product. Once the pressure was noticed to be dropping, everything was shut down.

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.
845.0 pounds

insulated line
Cause: Intial report said that there was a small leak on an insulted line resulting in an unknown release of the listed chemicals.

Followup: No

Notes: After further investigation of the small leak, no reportable quantities were said to be exceeded.

Block valve
Cause: It was a planned flaring.

Followup: No

Notes: They have a block valve that needed maintenance. Flaring started at 9:30 am scheduled to be over by 2:30 pm. Exxon's report received on 7/26/10 indicated no RQ exceedances.

KD-14 charge gas drier bypass line
Cause: A line leak was discovered on the KD-14 charge gas dier bypass line. 107 lbs of charge gas was released as a result of a line leak on the KD-14 charge gas drier bypass line.

Followup: No

Notes: Area monitoring was conducted and monitoring results repeatedly indicated low levels of hydrocarbon present at the leak site but at concentrations below the limit of detection at the BRCP fence line. A clamp has been placed on the line to isolate the leak. Prior to the permanent clamp being installed, a temporary clamp was installed on the line. Area monitoring was conducted. A permanent clamp was installed on the line on November 11.
15.0 pounds

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.
2,609.0 pounds

transfer line from "D" furnance to EPLA-W
Cause: On August 18, 2012 at 20:27, a leak was discovered on a transfer line from "D" furnance to the "light end unit" EPLA-W.

Followup: No

Notes: The line was isolated and secured.
26.6 pounds

convention tube on C furnace
Cause: On February 10, 2013, a release of uncombusted ethylene (6.7 pounds), propylene (0.2 pounds), butadiene (0.2 pounds), butadiene (0.2 pounds), benzene (0.2 pounds), and other gases in smaller amounts (hydrogen, methane, and ethane). The incident began at 1000 hours and ended at 1045 hours. The release was caused due to a leaking tube in a steam cracking furnace (furnace C), which caused feed to enter the furnace. It was stated that most of the gases combusted inside the furnace. Some did not combust inside. The feed was stopped and the leaking tube later filled with water to prevent feed from entering that tube.

Followup: No

Notes: The leaking tube was filled with water to prevent feed from entering tube. The tube was reported to stay in this condiction until a more feasible time to replace or repair the tube and would not affect the operation of the furnace.


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.