Essays on Texas Refinery Explosion Assignment

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1.0 IntroductionAccidents and catastrophes are a common phenomenon in the few past years. Catastrophes ranges from man made to natural calamities. However, to some extend, the man made calamities can be intercepted but the natural catastrophes cannot easily be intercepted. Consequences associated with catastrophes lies within socio-economical and environmental concerns. Thus, the aim of this report is to analyze Texas Oil Refinery Explosion that occurred in 2005. The industrial facility is located at Texas in United States. Moreover, the paper tries to explain what happed, how it happened, why it happened, consequences and lessons that were learned due to the incident.

Finally, the paper will try to show the implications that such a disaster occurs in Preston could have. 2.0 What Happened On March 23 2005 at around 1.20 pm, there was an explosion and fire occurred at Texas City in which one of BP’s largest and the most complex oil refinery was the casualty. The hydrogen isomerization unit was the scene of the incident in which there was an explosion followed by the fire. It resulted in 15 people dying and more than 170 been injured.

All the people who died were contractors who were on site. The refinery is located on a 1200-acre piece of land, employs about 1600 staff and support 30 process units. In addition, approximately 800 other contractors were on site rejuvenating the refinery, which had taken nine months. The BP refinery plant produces jet fuels, chemical feedstocks, diesel fuels and gasoline. It is estimated that the refinery has a capacity of 460,000 barrels per day and has the ability of producing 11 million gallons of gasoline per day.

3.0 How it happenedAfter the completion of the turnaround of the refinery, the huge steel hydrogen isomerization unit was been restarted after two weeks after it had stopped operating. The isomerization commonly known as isom boosts the octane part of gasoline. Moreover, restarting or starting of the oil refinery is usually the most dangerous time. This is because at a time of refinery turnaround, more than 30,000 different procedures take place. Many people are required to move around volatile contents, which is the main cause of most risks.

The explosion originated from high and abnormal pressures when the workers were restarting the component unit. The abnormal pressures built up in the production tower resulting in three valves opening at the same time allowing extremely volatile gasoline components to escape into the 10×20 feet drum. However, a lot of fuel flooded into the “blowndown” drum in which its capacity rapidly exceeds its capacity. Thus, liquid and vapour shot straight upwards covering a height of 113 feet vent stack and into the open air (Institution of Chemical Engineers 2008).

Instantaneously, a cracking sound was overheard through a radio stopping all hot work activities that were taking place. However, at the time many types of equipment were running and thus took a lot of time trying to turn it off. This resulted vapours been sucked into the equipment engine’s and at the same time a pick up that was below the tower began to rev up. One of the workers tried to turn off the pick up but it was too late. Within the clouds of fumes and may be in the pick up engine, a spark touched off resulting in ignition of a firestorm ball.

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