Inquiry continues into 2009 HF release at Citgo refinery, CSB says

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) dispatched a team of investigators on Mar. 6 to the site of a July 19, 2009, hydrocarbon gas release involving hydrofluoric acid (HF) at Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s Corpus Christi, Tex., refinery. Citgo was able to capture the estimated 21 tons of HF that were released from the plant’s alkylation unit and subsequently satisfied recommendations CSB issued the following December, the board noted.

It is continuing its inquiry because of HF’s toxic nature and the need to keep it contained or to mitigate consequences of its release, CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said. “Approximately 50 of the nation’s refineries still use HF in their alkylation units, requiring great care in its handling,” he indicated.

The released hydrocarbons in the 2009 incident ignited and became a fire that burned for several days and critically injured one employee, CSB said. Citgo reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that 21 tons of HF released from alkylation pipes and equipment were captured by a water mitigation system, the federal agency said.

But investigators quickly determined that Citgo nearly exhausted the stored supplies for the water mitigation during the first day, causing the 163,000-b/d refinery to begin pumping salt water as a backup, it added. Multiple failures occurred during the salt water transfer including ruptures of barge-to-shore transfer hoses and water pump engine failures, it said.

The board said its December 2009 urgent safety recommendations called on Citgo to immediately improve the plant’s water mitigation and perform third-party safety audits of its HF units there and at its Lemont, Ill., refinery. Citgo met the recommendations’ requirements and CSB closed them as acceptable actions in 2011, it said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Judge bars Anadarko e-mails as evidence in Macondo blowout hearing

03/21/2014 A federal district judge in New Orleans refused to accept e-mails between Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and BP PLC as evidence in a hearing to determine...

BOEM extends proposed higher offshore liability limit comment period

03/20/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management added 30 days to the public comment period for its proposed higher liability limit for offshore oil and ga...

Begich objects to House Democrats’ NPR-A comment extension request

03/18/2014 US Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alas.) let three US House Democrats know he did not approve of their request for the US Bureau of Land Management to add 30 ...

EPA lifts post-Macondo contract suspension in agreement with BP

03/14/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency and BP PLC reached an agreement that will effectively end the bar on new federal contracts imposed on the mu...

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected