The Phillips Company Houston Chemical Complex Instruct Uwo by tiffany.yolanda


									    The Phillips 66 Company
   Houston Chemical Complex
  Explosion and Fire, 23 Oct 89
• 23 killed, 130 Injured, $1,300MM damage

• Presented to ES-317y at UWO in 1999

• Dick Hawrelak
The Process
              The Incident
• Prior to the incident, the Phillips union
  maintenance group and management were
  embroiled in numerous labor disputes
  regarding the use of non-union sub-
• On Sunday Oct 22, a sub-contractor crew
  began work to unplug 3 of 6 settling legs on
  Reactor No. 6.
        The Incident Cont’d
• Near the end of the job on Monday Oct 23,
  a contractor went to the CR to seek the
  assistance of an operator when vapor was
  seen coming from the open pipe.
• 85,200 lbs of mostly isobutane were
  released from reactor No.6 in a few
         The Incident Cont’d
• The first VCE took place two minutes after
  the release.The ignition source was
  unknown. A fire covered the reactor area.
• The second VCE took place 10 to 15
  minutes later when two 90,920 liter
  isobutane storage tanks exploded.
• 25 to 45 minutes later a second reactor loop
          The Consequences
• 23 workers on site were killed.
• More than 130 workers on site were injured.
• The unhardened control room disappeared.
• Missiles were thrown 9.5 km. into the
  community. Luckily, no one was injured.
• Property damage now stands at $1,300MM.
• Lloyds of London nearly goes bankrupt.
Overpressure - 32 Tonnes TNT
   Reasons Cited By The Union
• Manpower cut-backs raised concerns for
• Excessive overtime - workers stressed-out.
• Use of sub-contract maintenance creates
• Inadequate lock-out procedures.
• Inherently flawed reactor design.
 Reasons Cited By Management
• All of the union citations were refuted by
  management citing that the system in place
  had worked safely for 20 years.
              OSHA Report
• After the explosion, a physical examination of
  the actuator mechanism for the DEMCO
  valve showed, and FBI laboratory tests
  confirmed, that the DEMCO valve was open
  at the time of the release. The tests showed
  that the air hoses that supplied the air
  pressure (by which the actuator mechanism
  opened or closed the valve) were improperly
  connected in a reversed position. The hoses,
  connected in that way, would open a closed
  DEMCO valve even when the actuator switch
  was in the closed position.
         Findings By OSHA
• Settling leg not completely cleared.
• The sub-contractor had reconnected the air
  supply set on the Demco valve incorrectly.
  When activated, the valve would open
  instead of closing.
• Since there was no flow the operators felt
  the job had been completed properly.
    Findings By OSHA Cont’d
• There was no flow because of the remaining
• The plug clears under start-up pressure and
  the reactor contents are dumped to the
  process pad area.
       Other OSHA Findings
• Process hazard studies had not been
• Maintenance procedures were inadequate.
• Effective safety permit not enforced.
• No HC gas detectors in the area.
• CR not hardened & too close to process.
  Other OSHA Findings Cont’d
• Ventilation in many buildings inadequate.
• Fire protection system not maintained for
• Risk Management Plan (RMP) regulations for
  Chemical / Petrochemical / Oil Industry were
  adopted as Federal Regulation 1910.119 on 24
  May 96.
• All companies that exceed flammable and toxic
  threshold quantities must apply to the EPA for
  permits to operate.
• Emergency plans with the community are
    Free Copy of RMP Program
• U.S. EPA RMP program now being used in Sarnia
  by the Chemical valley.
• RMP End-points are:
      • 1 psig for VCEs
      • 2nd Degree Burns for flash fires.
      • ERPG2 for Toxic Chemicals
• Distances are too far reaching to permit an
  effective emergency response plan (RAH

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