On January 13, 2003, at approximately 4:30 pm, a vapor cloud deflagration and pool fire erupted at the BLSR Operating, Ltd. (BLSR), facility located 5 miles north of Rosharon, Texas.
On January 13, 2003, at approximately 4:30 pm, a vapor cloud deflagration and pool fire erupted at the BLSR Operating, Ltd. (BLSR), facility located 5 miles north of Rosharon, Texas. Two BLSR employees were killed, and three were seriously burned. Two T&L Environmental Services, Inc. (T&L), truck drivers, who had just delivered gas condensate storage tank basic sediment and water (BS&W) to BLSR, were seriously burned; one of these men died on March 2.
The fire was caused by the release of hydrocarbon vapor during the unloading of BS&W from two vacuum trucks into an open area collection pit. BS&W is an oil/gas exploration and production (E&P) waste liquid. The fire destroyed two 50-barrel (2,100-gallon) vacuum trucks and seriously damaged waste liquid offloading equipment and structures at BLSR. One of the vacuum truck diesel engines was the most likely source of ignition..
• RECOGNIZING FLAMMABILITY HAZARDS OF EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION WASTE LIQUIDS
• SAFE HANDLING OF FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS
1. Noble Energy, Inc., the shipper, failed to identify the flammability hazard of BS&W generated at its gas well production facility, and also failed to communicate the hazard to employees and contractors who were required to handle the flammable liquid.
2. T&L management did not require Noble Energy to provide vacuum truck drivers with a material safety data sheet or other document listing the potential flammability hazard of BS&W, nor did it identify the flammability hazard of the mixture in the vacuum truck tank.
3. BLSR management did not have effective hazard communication practices in place to recognize the potential flammability hazard of each shipment of BS&W, nor did it implement safe handling practices when offloading flammable liquid onto the mud disposal and washout pad area.