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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-77-035
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: ADD TO 49 CFR 192 A REQUIREMENT FOR PNEUMATIC-OPERATED COMPRESSOR STATION EQUIPMENT, SIMILAR TO THE REQUIREMENT IN 49 CFR 192.167(3) FOR ELECTRIC-OPERATED EQUIPMENT, TO ISOLATE INSTRUMENT AIR SUPPLY TO AUTOMATIC FACILITIES, AND TO PROVIDE BACKUP OR SEPARATE EMERGENCY PNEUMATIC FACILITIES.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable 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: 9/3/1985
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: RSPA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 9/3/1985
Response:

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/21/1983
Response: RSPA LETTER: INCIDENTS INVOLVING VALVES AT COMPRESSOR STATIONS HAVE, ON THE AVERAGE, BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER SINCE 1976. AND INCIDENTS INVOLVING FITTINGS AT COMPRESSOR STATIONS HAVE ALSO DECLINED -- AGAIN, BOTH IN ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE TERMS. DURING 1970-1976, THE AVERAGE ANNUAL NUMBER OF INCIDENTS FOR COMPRESSOR STATIONS WAS 23.6; DURING THE PERIOD FROM 1977 TO THE PRESENT, THIS NUMBER HAS DROPPED TO 15.2. THE MTB'S COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM HAS ALSO EMPHASIZED TO OPERATORS THE NEED TO MEET THE COMPRESSOR STATION BLOWDOWN REQUIREMENTS OF 49 CFR 192.167(A) AND TO INSURE THAT TORQUING PROCEDURES RECOMMENDED BY EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS ARE FOLLOWED.

From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 1/22/1979
Response:

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/17/1978
Response: LETTER FROM MTB: MTB COMPLETELY CONCURS WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION AND WILL INCORPORATE THIS PROJECT IN DEVELOPING THE REGULATORY SCHEDULE COMMENCING IN JANUARY OF 1979.