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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-77-028
Details
Synopsis: ON DECEMBER 7, 1976, A NATURAL GAS COMPRESSOR FAILED AND THEN EXPLODED AND BURNED AT AN EXXON GAS SYSTEM, INC., STATION NEAR ROBSTOWN, TEXAS. AN EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN SYSTEM WAS ACTIVATED, BUT FOUR AUTOMATED FIRE GATE VALVES DID NOT CLOSE. ANOTHER EMERGENCY CONTROL SYSTEM ALSO FAILED TO AUTOMATICALLY CLOSE THE SHUTOFF VALVES, LEADING TO TWO OF THE FIVE COMPRESSORS IN THE STATION. A SECOND EXPLOSION OCCURRED WITHIN THE BURNING BUILDING. THE FIRE KILLED ONE PERSON, INJURED TWO PERSONS, AND DESTROYED THREE ENGINE-DRIVEN COMPRESSORS AND THE COMPRESSOR BUILDING.
Recommendation: INSPECT EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN VALVES AND THEIR COMPONENTS AT COMPRESSOR STATIONS AT MORE FREQUENT INTERVALS THAN 1 YEAR (MONTHLY OR QUARTERLY) UNTIL EQUIPMENT OF PROVEN RELIABILITY HAS BEEN INSTALLED, TESTED, AND SHOWN TO BE RESPONSIVE FOR LONGER PERIODS OF INACTIVITY.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Pipeline
Location: Robstown, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA77MP005
Accident Reports:
Exxon Gas System, Inc., Natural Gas Explosion and Fire
Report #: PAR-77-03
Accident Date: 12/7/1976
Issue Date: 10/31/1977
Date Closed: 11/21/1978
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: ExxonMobil Corporation (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: ExxonMobil Corporation
Date: 1/5/1979
Response:

From: ExxonMobil Corporation
To: NTSB
Date: 12/20/1977
Response: LTR FROM EXXON GAS SYSTEM: EXXON HAS SET UP A MONTHLY VISUAL INSPECTION WITH PHYSICAL OPERATION OF EACH EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN SYSTEM. THEY ARE CHECKED FOR RESPONSE TO "FIRE", "MANUAL", "HIGH SCRUBBER LIQUID LEVEL", "VALVE OUT OF POSITION", AND WHERE APPLICABLE, "GAS DETECTED" SIGNALS. MONTHLY TESTS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE RELIABILITY OF ALL COMPONENTS IN THE ESD SYSTEM HAVE BEEN PROVEN FOR LONGER PERIODS OF INACTIVITY.