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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Releases of Sulfur Dioxide

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
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.
3,190.0 pounds
107421

2008-07-21
Flare #25
Cause: Due to an unknown cause, the compressor in the SACC unit failed and reduced the pressure on the system by flaring. The charge gas compressor in the Olefins unit shut down when several processing cards in the gas turbine control system failed. Four of the seven furnaces shut down immediately and gas from them were evacuated to the flare. The high rate flow caused #25 flare to smoke. The H furnace was starting up a leak developed in the convection section and uncombusted VOCs were released to air. It was believed a pinhole leak developed during steaming of furnace.

Followup:

Notes: The failed cards were replaced and the unit began operation. There was a complaint about black smoke that was coming from flare for about an hour, and ongoing flare. Steam was introduced into the furnaces to displace VOCs to reduce flaring emissions. The failed cards were replaced and the unit began operation. The flaring during start up were permitted emissions.
1,390.0 pounds
106776

2008-06-27
control system on gas driven turbine driver
Cause: On 6/27/08 the charge gas compressor at the Olefins Unit shut down due to a control system failure of the gas driven turbine driver. Five furnaces automatically shut down and gas was routed to the f

Followup: no

Notes: First they cooled dow the furnace to shut down the unit. Repairs were made to the control system and restarted. Flaring occurred during startup.
2,658.0 pounds
105023

2008-04-22
Flare
Cause: ExxonMobil had an upset on the hydrocarbon unit. They had to shut down a compressor. The gas from the compressor was sent to the flare.

Followup: No

Notes: Delay in notification because they didn’t get the data until the afternoon. No additional information given. Material did go offsite. Related to 104990. See comments under that incident.
700.0 pounds
119348

2009-11-08
No Information Given
Cause: Caused by a loss of power.

Followup: No

Notes: Release was being consumed in a furnace. No other information available at time of report. Amount of hydrogen sulfide released was unknown.
116641

2009-07-21
Pipe on thermal oxidizer
Cause: Hole in a pipe on a thermal oxidizer

Followup: No

Notes: According to the Plant's Environmental Manager, a hole developed in a pipe on a thermal oxidizer releasing flammable gas and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Operators quickly shut in the unit. Further action by LDEQ pening results of investigation. Quantities of released chemicals are estimates.
1,000.0 pounds
113980

2009-04-06

RTO unit
Cause: RTO unit atmospheric safety and associated flaring caused by loss of an electronic card and computer failure. Failure of a computer control card resulted in several control valves to fail in the closed position and the atmospheric safety valve then lifted to the flare.

Followup: No

Notes: The card was replaced with a spare and the unit operations were reduced to minimize released.
500.0 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.
3,774.0 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.
3,774.0 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.
8,726.0 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.
145241

2012-12-11
Flare and safety valve
NIG
Cause: ExxonMobil Chemical Plant experience an unanticipated cooling tower water line leak resulting in a shutdown of the Refinery Gas Recovery unit (OLA-1X and EPLA-S) causing 13 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 122 pounds of ethylene, and 29 pounds of propylene to be released as result of flaring. The OLA-1X compressor MC-01 experienced an increased in pressure resulting in an atmospheric safety valve lifting for approximately 45 seconds, released 5,817 pounds of flammable vapos into the atmosphere, 5,506 of which were propylene.

Followup: No

Notes: Unit operating procedures for stabilizing EPLA-S during an unanticipated OLA-1X shutdown were implemented to reduce the environmental impact. Root cause is under investigation. The reportable quantities for ethylene and propylene were exceeded.
13.0 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.
28,988.0 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.
11,979.0 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.
23,626.0 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.
28,041.0 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.
30,097.0 pounds