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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Releases of Nitrogen Oxide

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
89599

2006-07-30
flange
Cause: Found a pinhole leak in a flange.

Followup: No

Notes: Secured it by shutting pump down and blocking in the release.
89593

2006-07-28
Compressor
Cause: Compressor tripped off.

Followup: No

Notes: It was diverted to secure and took it out of the flare.
65.0 pounds
88524

2006-02-01
Baton Rouge Turbine Generator exhaust stack S-85
Cause:

Followup: No

Notes: On 1/29/06 the BRTG unit was started up after turnaround. A fuel gas meter had been blocked in for recalibration during the turnaround. This meter is used to calculate the proper amount of nitrogen oxide suppression stream. After startup, this meter remained blocked in and was providing erroneous data to the controller, which resulted in the improper amount of nitrogen oxide suppression steam being supplied. This led to a permit deviation on the 25 PPM limit for the gas turbine generator, a regulatory deviation for the meter being unavailable, and the exceedence of RQs for nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide. The flow meter unblocked and was returned to service. The report said that the incident was under investigation. Procedures would be modified as applicable.
726.0 pounds
98080

2007-07-23
furnace
Cause: ExxonMobil re-evaluated a leak that they had inside of a furnace. Tube inside of a furnace has a small leak, which is causing ethane to be released into a section of the furnace that is not designed for combustion.

Followup: No

Notes: The ethane was combusting and forming nitrogen oxide. The furnace is fairly large and shutting it down would cause flaring that would release thousands of pounds of nitrogen oxide. A strategy to repair the tube was to be developed. Nitrogen oxides were released at 16 lbs per day. Release is ongoing. Amount of release is unknown at this time.
95548

2007-04-21
Flare
Cause: had a flare event associated with RTO3 upset.

Followup:

Notes: May have exceeded RQ's.
45.0 pounds
95507

2007-04-20
D furnace
Cause: ExxonMobil Chemical has a convection section leak on D furnace, on the PASS 5 section.

Followup:

Notes: This is being reported as a precautionary measure. They released Nitrous Oxide at 12.5 lbs/day. The limit is 10 lbs/day. Exact amount of nitrous oxide released is unknown.
94916

2007-03-27
Flare
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.

Followup:

Notes: The flaring has stopped. The control valve is being repaired.
34.3 pounds
93846

2007-02-08
Flare
Cause: ExxonMobil had a pump that was vented to the flare due to a control system command. Unknown what caused the control system to vent the pump to the flare. Nitrogen oxide was released from the flare

Followup: No

Notes: Delay in notification because there was some confusion on ExxonMobil's part about the RQ. There have been some recent changes on the RQ for Nox for DEQ, and ExxonMobil was unsure if LSP had followed suit.
12.0 pounds
110384

2008-10-26
Ethylene Purification Unit
Cause:

Followup: No

Notes: Exxon believes that RQs were exceeded for all products released. Due to equipment failure, there was an unplanned shutdown of the Ethylene purificaInitial report says that they may exceed for RQs for Ethylene, propylene, nitrogen oxide, and opacity. Exxon's report was received on 11/5/08, and it said that no RQ exceedences occurred. The activity associated with this is covered under the Sp. Condition 2 of the operating Titile V permit for the Main train unit.
1,709.0 pounds
109655

2008-09-01
Advanced Wastewater Treatment Unit
Flare
Storage Tank
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.
1,342.0 pounds
109663

2008-09-01
Weather
Cause: Due to hurricane Gustav they lost a Nitrogen Oxides suppression steam to high temperature setting.

Followup:

Notes: They are continuing to operate until they can re-start the unit. Over 1000 pounds of nitrogen oxides were released.
1,000.0 pounds
105623

2008-05-14
Safety valve
Cause: Safety valve released into vent stacks causing a fire. Unknown what the chemical is.

Followup: no

Notes: The valve was blocked away from the vent stack at 625pm.
10.0 pounds
104990

2008-04-22
Flare
Cause: Flaring episode that occurred at the startup of a unit, when a vessel overpressured and vented to the flare. No specific cause why the vessel overpressured, other than it exceeded its vent pressure

Followup:

Notes: No additional information given. Linked to 105023. LABB only has initial notification made to SPOC no subsequent facility letter or LDEQ report.
11.4 pounds
104910

2008-04-21
D-furnace tube leak in NACC unit
Cause: D-Furnace tube leak in the NACC unit of the plant.

Followup:

Notes: Leak is ongoing at time of report. They are in the process of putting the water in the pass now. If this doesn’t work, they will bring the furnace down. It is above RQ only for State Police and not for LDEQ. Feed was stoppped and tube will be repaired during down time.
47.0 pounds
104297

2008-03-28
drum at NACC
Cause: They had a drum at NACC that had a pressure build up that was vented to the flare. This produced Nitrogen Oxides to the air from the flare.

Followup:

Notes: Incident is secured. .
9.0 pounds
104053

2008-03-19
flare
Cause: A flare gas compressor tripped. This in turn caused flaring.

Followup: No

Notes: Not a reportable incident as it is covered under permit but was a reportable to state police as Nox exceeded their RQ of 10 lbs.
104042

2008-03-18
Flare
Cause: They lost an analog output card on a control system Off spec. Gasses went tot flare. Control valves and their by pass cause the system to go off spec. This caused them to flare the materials.

Followup:

Notes: The release is ongoing until they can bring things back on line. Materials released will be tracked against 5 yr rolling average for the Sp. Condition. Amount of nitrogen oxide released is over 70 pounds.
70.0 pounds
103979

2008-03-17
Furnace
Cause: They have a furnace tube with a pinhole leak.

Followup: No

Notes: They will try to let it coke up. They do have other furnaces with problems and this may put them over the 10 lb RQ. The amount of Nitrogen oxides released is under 10 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.
2,362.0 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.
2,613.0 pounds
127927

2010-12-01
monoethanolamine system (MEA) at the Refinery
Cause: The plant receives feed streams from the Baton Rouge Refinery. The Refinery experienced an upset of its MEA system on 11/30 (SPOC #10-06865). This incident caused elevated hydrogen sulfide content of some of the plant's feed streams, resulting in off-specification products.

Followup: No

Notes: These materials were required to be diverted to the flare system. The plant's unit operations were adjusted to minimize emissions and incident duration. The refinery's scrubbing tower T-585 was removed from service to stabilize the MEA system, allowing the plant's feed streams to return to normal hydrogen sulfide concentrations. Successful conclusion of the Refinery incident resolved the root cause of the Chemical Plant feed stream issues. Unit procedures will be evaluated for consideration of potential incidents and responses of off-specification feed streams. RQs for ethylene and nitrogen oxide were exceeded.
2,663.0 pounds
126265

2010-09-10
battery charger on Mark Ve control system
Cause: Preliminary investigation findings for the event indicated a battery charger malfunctioned on the Mark Ve control system, causing a power disruption in the Olefins area. The olefin area's primary fractionator overhead compressor tripped as a result of the power disruption, and the primary fractionator overhead was routed to the flare system per design.

Followup: No

Notes: Beginning at 10:20 am on 9/10/10 the plant experienced flaring. By 3:45 rates for all other olefins equipment were reduced, and flaring was minimized. Subsequent flaring from recovery and startup activities were authorized under Part 70 permit emissions limit. Unit rates were minimized to reduce flaring. Control system batteries were replaced and restart of the compressor was expedited to end the flaring. All batteries in this control system were replaced. This event is under investigation, with the aid of equipment manufacturers, to determine the root cause of the battery charger malfunction. All chemicals involved exceeded RQs.
1,099.0 pounds
120703

2010-01-10
flare
Cause: Unknown cause for leak in the propylene line of the EPLA (Ethylene Purification Unit). The EPLA uses high pressure propylene for refrigeration.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Initial report was received on 1/19/10. Ethylene Purification Unit (EPLA) uses high pressure propylene for refrigeration. Leak in pipe started 1/9/10 but discovered 1/10/10 at 8:20 pm. Proper and safe disposition of high pressure propylene is flaring. EPLA unit was shut down and more flaring occurred. Flaring occurred. Ended 1/11/10 at 3:22 am. Subsequent start up also resulted in flaring which are covered under permit. This was not preventable as it was an unusual incident. Follow up report after invesitgation was received on 3/22/10. Following corrective actions were contemplated: Design and install a permanent repair for the line, Review vibration study, Increase HAWK camera utilization to detect leaks early, Implement flow alarms for early warning via Real Time Advisor computer system. Exxon Mobil personnel requested and met with the Enforcement Divsion to settle the penalty on this preventable release.
135136

2011-11-05
Control valve
Cause: Control valve malfunctioned releasing several materials into the air. Released to the flare after control valve malfunctioned.

Followup: No

Notes: No reportable quantities were exceeded.
8.0 pounds
144539

2012-11-09
Flare gas system
Cause: A failure of the fuel gas control valve servomechanism actuator failed due to particulate matter in the hydraulic system, causing OLA-2X gas turbine to trip and material to be released to the Site's flare gas system.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Feed was removed from five of seven furnaces and the remaining two furnaces were operating at minimal rates in order to reduce the load on the flare system and emissions to the atmosphere. The hydraulic oil filters and servos were replaced upon discovery of the foulant. The hydraulic oil system was drained, cleaned, and charged with fresh oil in December 2012 to remove a suspected contaminate and particulates. ExxonMobil is conducting additional laboratory analysis of the lube oil at our lubes and specialities lab to determine if additional steps are needed to help prevent recurrence. In addition, improved filtration has been installed. A citizen complaint was recorded and given LDEQ incident number 144543. The complaint cites "Exxon release causing terrible odors, making the caller sick." The LDEQ report references this report, incident 144539 for information on the release. The reportable quantities for VOC, benzene, ethylene, propylene, isoprene, 1,3-butadiene, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide were exceeded as a result of this event.
3,938.0 pounds
152527

2013-11-20
OLA-2X gas compressor
Cause: On November 20, 2013 at approximately 2 PM, the OLA-2X gas compressor tripped due to high vibrations; causing material to be released to the site's flare gas system. Follow-up investigation results indicate that the drain line for the compressor coupling guard became plugged with an extensive amount of coke, allowing oil to build up and degrade the inside of the coupling guard. Over time, the oil degradation impinged on the coupling, causing the high vibrations. The Reportable Quantities for ethylene, propylene, butadiene, isoprene, benzene, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide was exceeded as a result of this event.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Immediately after the trip, unit shutdown procedures were executed and feed was safely removed from the unit. Air monitoring was conducted on November 20 and November 21 and all results were below the level of detection. Insulated the coupling guard drain line. Will evaluate installing a manometer on the coupling guard to attempt to measure air flow in the coupling guards and establish a monitoring program to determine if coke is accumulating in the coupling guards. Note: the initial report claims that plugged drain lines are not able to be detected or repaired, so the incident was not preventable. However, the follow-up report claims that air monitoring might detect coke accumulation and allow prevention.
1,628.0 pounds
151413

2013-10-05

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.
4,648.0 pounds
151342

2013-09-29
OLA-2X Gas Turbine
Cause: On September 29 at approximately 11:20 PM, the OLA-2X gas turbine tripped causing material to be released to the site's flare gas system. The shutdown was caused by a loss of flame in the gas turbine. Initial findings indicate that a change in power augmentation steam quality caused the loss of flame. An investigation is underway to determine the root cause of the change in steam quality.

Followup: No

Notes: Feed was safely removed from five of the seven furnaces to minimize the load on the flare system and emissions to the atmosphere. The remaining two furnaces were operated at minimal rates to minimize start-up emissions. Air monitoring was conducted on September 30, 2013 and all results were below the level of detection. This incident is under investigation to determine the root cause of the change in steam quality. Short term mitigation steps have been implemented to ensure consistent steam delivery to the gas turbine.
3,810.0 pounds
148832

2013-05-21

Cause: On May 21, the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant experienced a turbine trip at the OLA-2X unit. The material released was sent to the site flare gas system. After further investigation, it was determined that this event was due to the failure of the fuel gas control valve servomechanism actuator. The servomechanism actuator failed due to particulate matter build up in the hydraulic oil system.

Followup: No

Notes: Immediate remedial action was to reduce unit feed rates to help minimize emissions. The hydraulic oil filters and servomechanism actuators were replaced prior to restarting the machine.
4,089.0 pounds