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Flare knockout drum outlet line rupture

Published on 26/09/23 150 Views

A lightening strike on the crude distillation unit (CDU) caused a fire, so the CDU and all other process units except the fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) were shut down. Approximately 5 hours later, amid the confusion of a cascade of alarms and attempts to restart the FCC wet gas compressor, the FCC flare knockout drum outlet line ruptured, releasing 20 tonnes of flammable hydrocarbons which found an ignition source 110m away and exploded. The flare system was incapacitated by the explosion, so fires were allowed to burn themselves out over days.

Ask yourself and your crew:

  • How can something like this happen here (e.g. on our site)?
  • What safety measures (i.e. procedures, controls/barriers) do we have in place to mitigate the risk?
  • How do we know the risk controls/barriers are working?
  • What improvements or changes should we make to the procedures, controls/barriers or the way we work?

Original content courtesy of IChemE Safety Centre