ExxonMobil has reported an operation upset that required flaring at the Beaumont refinery Friday afternoon.
Engineers with the company predicted the event lasted for about 15 minutes and released over 1,600 pounds if air emissions, including 833 pounds unspecified volatile compounds (VOCs) and 215 pounds of methane, according to an initial report filed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Policy on Saturday.
VOCs can cause irritation and breathing issues, especially for those with chronic conditions, and some are known to be highly cancerous. High levels of exposure to methane can cause some minor health effects, but it is also regulated as a major greenhouse gas.
According to engineers with the company, “instrumentation tubing” connected to equipment on the refinery’s hydrocracker unit “had a leak to atmosphere” and required the company to initiate flaring.
The company reported that the event happened at around 3 p.m. and sent out an alert to on the Southeast Texas Alerting Network around 4:15 p.m. on Friday. The alert was still active until at least 5:25 p.m. on Saturday.
The company reported that there were no detentions of impact to the surrounding community in southeast Beaumont from its fence line monitors around the facility.
Written by Jacob Dick