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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Releases of Xylene

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

Pump seal on processing unit
Cause: While making rounds on the unit, Aromatics operations personnel discovered a pump seal leaking to concrete containment and to the sewer.

Followup: No

Notes: Operations shut down the pump and blocked it away from the process stopping the leak. The pump seal will be replaced.
0.1 pounds

T2 Tower, flange
Cause: On Xylene Recover Unit a flange on control valve on T2 Tower had vibration, causing it to leak.

Followup: No

Notes: Xylene did not exceed its RQ but 16 lbs of HRVOC added to 88 lbs of Xylene exceeded RQ on HRVOC.
88.0 pounds

Cause: As a result of Hurricane Gustav the Baton Rouge Resins Finishing Plant (BRFP) experienced significant facility damage and power interruptions that required operations to safely shutdown. Hurricane Gustav is clearly considered an "act of god." The Baton Rouge Resin Finishing Plant only had generators for electrical power to maintain a small number of instruments and critical pumps. There was no power available for the compressors that collect vent gases from storage tanks and route them to the site's flare. The seal leg on the flare seal drum prevented the relatively small breathing losses from reaching the flare for combustion. The flare pilots were extinguished during the storm but we have established the ability to relight it. However due to natural gas supply availability and the inability to route the vent streams to the flare tip we elected to allow the flare pilots to remain unlit until we restored power to the vapor recovery compressors. Power was restored to BRFP at 230 pm on 9/6/08 and the flare pilots were relit. All tanks that were venting to the atmosphere were routed to the flare.

Followup: No

Notes: BRFP was safely and systematically shutdown due to hurricane Gustav. Learning from this event will be incorporated into future hurricane preparations. BRFP was unable to complete some of the timing obligations due to Hurricane Gustav. It has prevented from meeting all the timing obligations of the required September monitoring. At the time the primary focus of mechanical resources was on storm related repairs to enable safe startup of unit operations. The plant was to accomplish the LDAR monitoring within the next 60 days. In addition, the availability of parts is also a difficult logistics problem so the focus was on their resources toward startup. BRFP was safely and systematically shutdown due to Hurricane Gustav. Learnings from this event will be incorporated into future hurricane preparations. .
1.0 pounds

Advanced Wastewater Treatment Unit
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.
13.0 pounds

corroded line that ties into bleeder valve
Cause: Corroded line that ties into a bleeder valve started leaking

Followup: No

Notes: The line was isolated. Cleaned up with absorbent pads. Also clean up crew was en route to clean up the soil in containment area.
100.0 pounds

valve of reactor KR-01B
Cause: A leak was discovered on the outlet valve of reactor KR-01B at the Escornez unit.

Followup: No

Notes: LDEQ initially reports that hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and xylene were released, but later reports that only approximately 4 pounds of flammable vapor were released as a result of this event.