Damaged compressor : dual-stage compressor compressing ethylene from 3 to 33 bar. It operates alternately with the main compressor. On the day of the accident, it had been in operation for 43 days since its last maintenance five months prior. It was located next to two other compressors (Nos. 2 and 3). The latter two had been shut down and automatically isolated upon activation of the gas detectors, which was not the case for the damaged compressor No. 1, which had to be isolated manually from the control room.
In a petrochemical complex, a [...]
Around 10:30 pm in the isocyanate unit at a Seveso-classified chemical plant, a sensor detected a rapid conductivity rise in a heat exchanger, in which phosgene (COCl2) pressurised to tens of bar was being reheated with water vapour at 28 bar before reacting with an amine. Once the sensor alarm threshold was reached (50 µS), the safety controller isolated the drainage circuit for exchanger condensates by closing a motorised valve. A second conductivity meter, which had not been functioning properly and was scheduled for replacement by maintena [...]
At a Seveso-classified petrochemical plant, a pipe supplying air to a steam production boiler exploded at 3:40 pm, triggering a few seconds later a 2nd and more powerful explosion on a duct used to recover volatile organic compounds (VOC). The explosion and debris from the duct caused a fire outbreak on both a duct cyclofilter and a 1,000-litre vinyl acetate tank at the base of a distillation column, as well as a leak on the pipe feeding a 1-m³ oxygen tank. The safety controller immediately shut down the boilers, and site facilities were switc [...]
An explosion occurred around 1:40 am in a formulation reactor upon completion of camphorsulfonic acid loading into the toluene for the purpose of drying by means of azeotropic distillation. The explosion injured 1 technician due to the direct (blast) effect and caused the upper part of the distillation column to burst, in addition to roof damage (asbestos cement tiles torn off) and debris projections (mainly pieces of glass) spewed 20 to 30 m outside the building. The top of the column (nominal diam.: 300, 1 bar) split, the temperature transmit [...]
An empty butadiene tanker car not yet degassed was in transit at a marshalling yard. Due to the ambient cold temperature (-17°C), the gaseous phase of the butadiene liquefied (Tboiling=-4.4°C); cistern pressure was drawn down by an estimated 0.35 bar (tank design threshold) and then collapsed. The railroad operator initiated the accident response procedure at 8 am: yard personnel were confined to the office and rail traffic was stopped in the yard. Arriving at 9 am, fire-fighters detected no cracks or explosion risks.
Since the cistern was inc [...]
Fire broke out around 11:40 pm on the front bumper of a propane tanker lorry parked near the vehicle repair shop at a company operating as a gas bottle transporter and broker of bulk liquid and liquefied hydrocarbons. This 200-employee company was subject to conditions outlined in the "Classified Facilities" legislation for storing bottles of flammable liquefied gas of a total amount inferior to 50 tonnes. A watchman with the industrial park's security firm notified emergency services. A BLEVE-type vapour explosion occurred at 12:17 am on the lorr [...]