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
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.
• PROCESS SAFETY PROGRAMS
• EMERGENCY RESPONSE
• MECHANICAL INTEGRITY INDUSTRY STANDARD DEFICIENCIES
• LEAK EVALUATION & RESPONSE INDUSTRY STANDARD DEFICIENCIES
1. Chevron did not effectively implement internal recommendations to help prevent pipe failures due to sulfidation corrosion.