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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-77-030
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: INCLUDE, IN EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN SYSTEMS, A SEPARATE CONTROL TO REMOTELY OPERATE VALVES THAT CAN INDEPENDENTLY BLOW DOWN THE STATION PIPING.
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: 9/28/1978
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: ExxonMobil Corporation (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s): Remote Operated Valves

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

From: ExxonMobil Corporation
To: NTSB
Date: 12/20/1977
Response: EXXON GAS SYSTEM LTR: STATION 1 IS BEING COMPLETED WITH A SYSTEM WHICH INCORPORATES A MANUAL, REMOTE CONTROL POWERED BY A SEPARATE DEDICATED NITROGEN SUPPLY. INSTALLATION IS 90% COMPLETE ON STATION 1. AFTER TESTING AND DEBUGGING AT STATION 1, THIS DESIGN WILL BE USED AT ALL OTHER STATIONS. 5/12/78 - EXXON RESPONSE TO NTSB LETTER OF 4-27-78 : THE MODIFICATION OF THE STATION 1 INDEPENDENT BLOWDOWN VALVES TO INCLUDE REMOTE ACTUATION BECAME OPERABLE PRIOR TO 4-28-78. MODIFICATIONS HAVE ALSO BEEN COMPLETED AT STATIONS 2,3, AND 4 TO PERMIT REMOTE BLOWDOWN OF STATION PIPING. THE BLOWDOWN VALVES AT ALL OTHER STATIONS ARE OPERATED BY SEPARATE CONTROL SYSTEMS WITH OPERATION INITIATED BY THE FULL CLOSURE OF ALL FIRE GATE VALVES AT THE RESPECTIVE STATIONS. THEREFORE, EACH OF OUR STATIONS ARE ABLE TO HAVE REMOTE BLOWDOWN OF STATION PIPING.