During transfer of a hydrocarbon mix from a river barge to a refinery storage zone, a defect at the level of the pipe compensator caused a leak around 3 am.
A number of steps had been taken the day before to prepare for this transfer of 500 tonnes of n-alcanes C5-C6 (an easily flammable liquid, highly toxic for aquatic organisms) from a barge into a 1,000-m³ capacity fixed-roof tank. A hose (DN 80) had been installed on a pipe rack (DN 150) connection to hook up the tank. A checklist describing all the manual steps was followed and inspections [...]
At 11.57 AM a power failure occurred in a refinery. The supply of electrical power was cut off, as a result of the failure of the main power line during maintenance. Because of this the refinery was almost completely powerless, which led to an emergency shut down of the whole plant. The automatically operated safety systems started working : large quantities of products were dumped in the emergency torch and were burnt off. Safety valves opened and released gasses to the atmosphere. Personnel and people working at the refinery were evacuated an [...]
Two technicians working with a subcontractor died from anoxia in a refinery while carrying out maintenance work on a down reactor that was part of a hydrocracking unit.
One of the technicians descended (or perhaps fell?) into a reactor filled with a nitrogen atmosphere in order to recover a roll of adhesive tape left inside and lost consciousness. The second employee on the exterior platform climbed down into the reactor to rescue his colleague and became unconscious as well. A third technician on the scene sounded the alarm. The emergency respo [...]
At 1.20 pm, a violent explosion rocked a gasoline isomerisation unit at the nation's 3rd largest refinery (460,000 barrels/day 2,000 employees). Having been shut down for maintenance on 02/21, the separator was being restarted 03/23 at 2 am. The operators began filling the raffinate splitter with highly flammable hydrocarbons. During normal operation, the liquid level at the base of the tower is roughly 2 m. The level indicator, with remote reporting in the control room, is designed to measure a maximum level of 3 m. Beyond this, the control roo [...]
Fire broke out on the furnace of a hydrodesulphurisation (HDS) unit for refinery diesel. Flames and thick black smoke, containing CO2 and SO2, were visible at the smokestack. The site was locked down 5 min after detection of the accident. The internal emergency plan was not activated. Notified by neighbours, 60 fire-fighters and 15 emergency vehicles were dispatched to the site without having to respond. The fire was contained within a half hour by internal teams, once incoming loads and H2 were shut down, as the strategy called for the fire to [...]
This refinery, which first began operating in 1964, was processing 1.7 million tonnes of crude oil a year. Its LPG storage zone contained 12,850 m³ (theoretical capacity: 13,100 m³) of pressurised hydrocarbons in 10 propane or butane spherical tanks, placed as close as 22.5 m from the A7 motorway. A technician's assistant was extracting a sample while bleeding one of the 1,200-m³ capacity propane spheres filled to 60%. After several incidents, a strictly-controlled operating procedure had been devised to bleed the spheres (calling for opening [...]