September, 1998

This is a repeating event

199825SepAll DayLongford Explosion 1998Esso Longford Victoria (AU-VIC) Origin: Marsh Lessons:Commitment & CultureIndustry:Gas ProcessingCountry:AustraliaLanguage:ENLoC:Undertemperature

Summary

Gas supplies to Australia’s Victoria State were virtually shut down following an explosion and fire at this gas processing plant. The specific cause of the accident was attributed to the rupture of a heat exchanger, following a process upset that was set in motion by the unintended, sudden shutdown of hot oil pumps. The loss of hot oil supply allowed some vessels to be chilled by cold oil, and when the hot oil was re-introduced to the heat exchanger, the vessel ruptured due to a brittle fracture. An initial release of approximately 22,000 pounds of hydrocarbon vapor exploded, and an estimated 26,000 pounds burned as a jet fire. The fire burned for two and a half days.

Operator error and improper training of employees was sited in the report issued by the Longford Royal Commission formed to study the incident. One of the pipes at the plant had sprung a leak and ignited, with the heat bursting other pipes. Five explosions ripped through the gas plant, and, in addition to the 120 workers evacuated from the site, police evacuated houses within a five kilometre radius of the gas plant. The plant has a daily production capacity of 200,000 barrels per day of stabilized crude oil, 40,000 barrels per day of raw LPG, and 450,000 million cubic-feet-per-day of gas to supply natural gas customers. The gas outage has affected 1.4 million users state-wide and forced small and large businesses to temporarily shut down. The estimated insurance payout is US$590 million. It is estimated that the shutdown cost industry nationally up to US$745 million in lost production.

Property Damage $443 Million. Estimated Current Value $813 Million [MARSH]


Image Credit: Fairfax Media | AcciMap Credit: Andrew Hopkins

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