Texas LPG fire: Domino effects triggered by natural hazards

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 2018, 116 pp. 354 - 364
Issue Date:
2018-05-01
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© 2018 Institution of Chemical Engineers On February 2007, a massive fire in a propane de-asphalting unit in an oil refinery in Texas, USA happened due to liquid propane release from a cracked pipe in a control station injuring four people, damaging extensive equipment, causing significant business interruption, and resulting in more than $50 million losses. The accident was triggered by a natural hazard: freezing of piping at a control station caused an inlet pipe elbow to crack, which in turn, led to the release of high-pressure liquid propane which was rapidly ignited. In addition, there were two near-miss events due to potential domino effects. In fact, the accident could reasonably have resulted in much more severe consequences due to the exposure of large butane storage spheres and chlorine containers, increasing the possibility of a catastrophic domino effect. This paper develops a Natech (natural hazard triggering technological disasters) risk assessment methodology that relies upon Bayesian network capabilities and takes into account the potential Natech domino effects. The methodology is implemented in the intended refinery and mathematically graphically represents the dynamic cause–effect relations between units involved in the scenario, and handles uncertainties among the interactions. In addition, the methodology can provide a risk value for the entire scenario that can be used further for risk-based decision making.
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