shell fire - Mackey's Antique Clock Repair

SHELL CHEMICAL FIRE BELPRE OHIO

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On May 27, 1994, Employees #1 through #3 were working at the Shell-Belpre Chemical Plant in Belpre, OH. A catastrophic failure of a 15,000 gallon polymer reactor vessel was initiated by a runaway chemical reaction involving an abnormally high amount of 1,3-butadiene during the production of Kraton-D, the Shell trademark for polymer. The reactor failure and ensuing fire resulted in the complete destruction of the polymerization unit. Missile fragments from the failed reactor vessel damaged adjacent units in the plant. One fragment punctured a styrene storage tank approximately 600 ft away. This subsequently resulted in the burning of five styrene storage tanks containing approximately 3.5 million gallons of flammable products. Employees #1 through #3 were killed in the explosion. more info at bottom of page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Fire at Shell Chemical -- Pictures Courtesy Mike Cottrell

 

Belpre blast alarm ignored says Shell

14 November 1994 Source: ICIS Chemical Business one of the three workers killed in the explosion at Shell's Belpre complex in Ohio, US, ignored alarms and overrode the automatic safety system, according to the company.

 

Its report into the blast, which happened in one of the site's five styrene-butadiene rubber units on 27 May, confirms earlier speculation of failure in a reactor vessel due to excessive pressure caused by a build-up of butadiene. The dead men were named as Gary Reed, Mike Harris and George Nutter.

The failed vessel, known as a STEP II reactor, is the second of two reactors in the polymerisation section of the unit. The STEP I reactor prepares materials for the STEP II reactor, where butadiene and styrene are mixed with catalyst to form elastomer.

The reasons for the butadiene overcharge have not been determined conclusively, says Shell. Filling the STEP II reactor with butadiene and isopentane had been started earlier that day during which there were several interruptions due to high system pressures. This led to several automatic closures of the butadiene shut-off valve in the unit's feed preparation area. This, in combination with a partial transfer of chemicals from the STEP I reactor, produced the explosion.

Why did the worker ignore the alarms and subsequent safety drill? Shell believes he thought isopentane, rather than butadiene, was in the reactor, but it does not know why. The technician had previously followed correct procedures in similar situations, said a spokesman.

Shell has now installed a system preventing a technician acting alone to allow the reaction to continue when the wrong mixture of chemicals is detected in the reactor. It has also changed the flow metering and control system to prevent an unmeasured flow of butadiene into the reactor automatically.

The rebuilt SBR unit will be back on stream in Q1 1996, says Shell, and will have the same capacity as the original, around 45000 ton/year.

 

 

 

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