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Facility:
Texaco Refinery
Location:
Milford Haven, UK
Date of accident:
24 July 1994
Type of accident:
  • Release of toxic/flammable materials
  • Explosion
  • Fire
Offshore/onshore accident:
Onshore

Texaco Refinery, Milford Haven, UK, 24 July 1994

SUMMARY

As a consequence of flammable hydrocarbon liquid being continuously pumped into a process vessel that, due to a valve malfunction, had its outlet closed, an explosion occurred. The flare system was not designed to cope with this excursion from normal operation resulting in a failure occurred in the outlet pipe.

20 tonnes of a mixture of hydrocarbon liquid and vapour were released, ignited and subsequently exploded. This caused a major hydrocarbon fire at the flare drum outlet and a number of secondary fires.

 

LESSONS

  • Inadequate maintenance of plant and instrumentation
    A control valve being shut when the control system indicated it was open. 
  • Plant modification
    Modification of the plant had been carried out without an assessment of the potential consequences. 
  • Control Room Design: need to address plant layout and ergonomic issues
    Control panel graphics did not provide necessary process overviews. Excessive number of alarms in emergency situation reduced the effectiveness of operator response. 
  • Emergency Response/Spill Control
    Attempts to keep the unit running when it should have been shut down
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