August, 2012

This is a repeating event

201206AugAll DayChevron (Richmond) Fire 2012Chevron Richmond (US-CA) Origin: CSB Lessons:Asset integrity,Commitment & Culture,Competency,Emergency PreparednessIndustry:RefiningCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Deterioration

Summary

On August 6, 2012, the Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Refinery in Richmond, California (‘the Chevron Richmond Refinery’) experienced a catastrophic pipe rupture in the #4 Crude Unit. The incident occurred from piping referred to as the ‘4-sidecut’ stream, one of several process streams exiting the refinery’s C-1100 Crude Unit Atmospheric Column. The pipe rupture occurred on a 52-inch long component of the 4- sidecut 8-inch line (the 52-inch component). At the time of the incident, light gas oil was flowing through the 8-inch line at a rate of approximately 10,800 barrels per day (bpd).

The ruptured pipe released flammable, high temperature light gas oil, which then partially vaporized into a large, opaque vapor cloud that engulfed 19 Chevron U.S.A. Inc. (Chevron) employees. At 6:33 p.m., approximately two minutes following the release, the released process fluid ignited. Eighteen of the employees safely escaped from the vapor cloud just before ignition; one employee, a Chevron refinery firefighter, was inside a fire engine that was caught within the fireball when the process fluid ignited. Because he was wearing full-body fire-fighting protective equipment, he was able to make his way through the flames to safety. Six Chevron employees suffered minor injuries during the incident and subsequent emergency response efforts.

KEY ISSUES:
• PROCESS SAFETY PROGRAMS
• EMERGENCY RESPONSE
• MECHANICAL INTEGRITY INDUSTRY STANDARD DEFICIENCIES
• LEAK EVALUATION & RESPONSE INDUSTRY STANDARD DEFICIENCIES

ROOT CAUSES:
1. Chevron did not effectively implement internal recommendations to help prevent pipe failures due to sulfidation corrosion.


Image & AcciMap Credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

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