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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Releases of Propane

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

Cause: A leak was discovered in the line used to transfer IPA tail gas, which is primarily liquid propane, to the Poly unit. The cause was determined to be localized internal corrosion.


Notes: The leaking section of the line was blocked in and water spray was applied to the leak to help minimize the vapors. Line-up changes were made so that this section of line could be depressurized to the flare system. A section of pipe, approximately 30 feet long, has been replaced. Ultrasonic measurements of additional elbows, low points, and horizontal sections of the pipe were taken. No other potential areas of corrosion were detected.
1,730.0 pounds

WBT 01 Tower
Cause: Small hole on WBT 01 Tower. This is an absorber tower which contains flammable gas. On examining the hole in the tower they shut it down.

Followup: No

Notes: Immediately feed was cut out of the tower, water spray was applied to the leak to help minimize the vapors, and the weep hole was plugged. The area surrounding the leak was ultrasonically tested and found to be of acceptable thickness. A more intense UT scan was performed over the entire vessel and confirmed to be of acceptable thickness. The leaking tell-tale hole was plugged per mechanical design standards. About 1/3 of the vessel is being sand-blasted and visually inspected to verify that there are not any unplugged tell-tale holes remaining.
179.0 pounds

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.
280.2 pounds

Propane safety valve
Cause: Propane safety valve released due to compressor upset.

Followup: No

Notes: They expected to exceed RQ for benzene and VOCs. They returned it back to normal conditions. Amount of VOC's released is unknown.
23,000.0 pounds

Rich Stage Absorber Tower
Cause: While making routine rounds, an assistant operator on the Isopropyl Alcohol Unit discovered a leak on the sixth level of the Rich Stage Absorber Tower. The leak was caused by a failure of the thermowell assembly.


Notes: Personnel immediately began to isolate and shut down the tower. Elevated fire monitors were activated which sprayed water on the release to minimize emissions to the air. Feed was blocked out of the tower, the liquid drained to other process equipment, and the tower was depressured to the gas recovery system. The failed thermowell assembly was replaced. The failed thermowell assemblly was sent to an outside lab for metallurgical analysis to determine the cause of the failure.
468.0 pounds

Tower CT01

Cause: They have a leak on the "bottoms line" on Tower CT01

Followup: No

Notes: Water was applied to wash down liquids. Incident caused by a leak on the "bottoms line" on Tower CT01. Unit was shut down. No quantities were exceeded. Material went off site and the air was not monitored.

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.

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.
20.0 pounds

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.
1,000.0 pounds

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.
97.0 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.

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.
1.0 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.
163.0 pounds

Cause: Pinhole leak in a valve body at the Ethylene Purification Unit (EPLA-S).

Followup: No

Notes: The propylene is leaking at a rate of 80 pounds per hour. Approximately 34 pounds of propylene and propane were released.

overhead piping of process tower
Cause: Leak on overhead piping of process tower.

Followup: No

Notes: Due to rapid response, this leak did not result in reportable quantities being exceeded.
82.0 pounds

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.
3.0 pounds

Tube on an exchanger
Cause: 85lbs of propylene and propane were released into the atmosphere in a 24hr period when there was a tube leak on an exchanger.

Followup: No

Notes: 85 pounds of propylene and propane were released.

No Information Given
Cause: Intermittent hydrocarbon flaring is expected to occur through the month of September 2014 due to planned unit shut-down and start-up. All emissions are permitted.

Followup: No

Notes: No Information Given