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Preventing Chemical Disasters Protects Workers, Communities and Creates Jobs. Clean Burning Gasoline – Where It All Begins Refiners achieve high octane, clean burning gasoline by adding alkylate Refining process of alkylation uses a chemical catalyst with petroleum feed materials. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Preventing Chemical Disasters Protects Workers, Communities and Creates JobsClean Burning Gasoline Where It All Begins Refiners achieve high octane, clean burning gasoline by adding alkylateRefining process of alkylation uses a chemical catalyst with petroleum feed materials*

  • Alkylation in RefineriesExtremely Hazardous Chemical ProcessesApproximately 1/3 of U.S. refineries (50) use very large quantities of Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) in alkylation Some have >1/2 million pounds on siteHF readily vaporizes in the atmosphere. A large release can form a vapor cloud that can travel great distances*

  • Alkylation CatalystHF Extremely Toxic OSHA & EPA regulate as highly toxic a Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) Damages eyes, skin, nose, throat, respiratory system and bonesFast acting, can cause deep, severe burns and can cause permanent damageHigh concentrations are immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH 30 ppm) Serious exposures require a knowledgeable health practitioner to administer antidote calcium gluconate as soon as possible after exposure*

  • Nevada HF Release TestAugust 1986, Industry Sponsored HF Dispersion Experiment: A seven minute controlled release of anhydrous HF at the Nevada Test Site. The test release created a hydrofluoric acid cloud over 10 feet high and visible from as far as of a mile


  • Metropolitan Areas at Great Risk from Refineries Using Hydrofluoric Acid*

    City/AreaNumber of Refineries Number of

    Workers Persons at Risk

    CommunityLocationCompanyChicago2Hundreds1 to 2 millionJolietLemontExxonMobilCITGOMinneapolis1Hundreds2 millionSt Paul ParkMarathonNew Orleans4Over 1,000300,000 to 1 millionBelle ChasseChalmetteGaryvilleMerauxConocoPhillipsExxonMobilMarathonMurphySalt Lake City3Hundreds200,000 to 1 millionSalt Lake CityN. Salt LakeWoods CrossChevronFlying JHollyCanton, OH1Hundreds900,000Canton MarathonMemphis1Hundreds800,000MemphisValero

  • Recent ReleasesHF Related Oil Industry Incidents Let the Record Speak for Itself: Marathon Canton, OH (February 23, 2011) release of 145 pounds of HF CITGO Corpus Christi, TX (July 19, 2009) explosion, fire, HF release critically injured oneSunoco Philadelphia, PA (March 2009) HF release sends 13 workers to hospitalGiant Industries, Ciniza, NM (April 4, 2004) 4 workers seriously in fire on HF unit*

  • Most Recent*HF release in South Korea. Five workers killed, 18 injured, 3,000 treated for exposure. Numerous cattle and crops were affected.

  • CITGO VideoCitgo, Corpus Christi, TX. July 2009 explosion and fire in the HF alkylation unit severely injured one worker and burned for two days. According to the CSB investigators, about 10% of the estimated 42,000 pound release traveled beyond the refinery fenceline.*

  • Dangerous IndustryOther Oil Industry Incidents Let the Record Speak for Itself:

    Deep Water Horizon (April 20, 2010) killed 11 workers, catastrophic environmental disasterTesoro Anacortes, WA (April 2, 2010) refinery explosion killed 7 workersBP Texas City (March 23, 2005) killed 15 workers, injured 180*

  • USW HF ReportSelected Preliminary Findings:Quantities of HF at Refineries The 23 refineries collectively have over 5 million pounds of HF on sitePer refinery range from 5,200 lbs. to 870,000 lbs. Per refinery average of 233,000 lbs. *

  • Preliminary FindingsSelected Preliminary Findings:High Number of OSHA Violations (since 2005). 293 violations of Process Safety Management Standard: at 20 sites (plus 593 at BP Texas City)Extraordinary 2010 gross operating profitsover $121 billion for eight oil companies operating 18 study refineries*

  • Preliminary FindingsSelected Preliminary Findings:

    Ineffective Integrity of Alkylation Process Safety Systems

  • Preliminary FindingsSelected Preliminary Findings:Ineffective HF-related Process, Storage and Transfer Systems
  • Preliminary FindingsSelected Preliminary Findings:Widespread Alkylation Unit Incidents and Near-Misses >75% reported at least one HF-related incident or near miss in the past 36 months 18 sites; 131 events; 2.4 per site per year 83% spills or releases 17% fires/explosions All reported the events either did or could have caused injuries to workers on-site. 50% reported events could have caused injuries to people in the community*

  • Preliminary FindingsSelected Preliminary Findings:Unprepared to Respond. (Refinerys on-site emergency responders, local off-site responders, sites nursing/medical personnel, local hospitals). Lowest levels of preparedness were for possible HF releases that could threaten community members (4% 22% very prepared and 48% 61% unprepared for the 4 groups)*

  • Preliminary FindingsSelected Preliminary Findings:

    Ineffective HF Release Mitigation and Response Systems.

  • ConclusionsConclusions HF disaster potential at refining operations is so great that it may be impossible for refineries to be fully prepared to respond once a major incident is underwayOverall, HF-using refineries are not fully prepared to prevent or to respond to HF incidents especially those traveling off-site or involving worst case scenarios*

  • ConclusionsConclusionsSubstituting safer processes using safer chemicals is the only real solutionMuch, much safer alternative chemicals and processes are available. Examplessolid acid catalyst ionic liquid catalyst*

  • RecommendationsEight Steps to Safer Refineries (Preliminary)

    USW is calling for refineries and other primary stakeholders to engage in the following:*

  • RecommendationsEight Steps to Safer Refineries (Preliminary)1. Educate Workers and the Public About the Dangers of HF2. Investigate Safer Alternatives to HFExplore sites using safer, alternative alkylation processes to develop competencies for transitioning to safer processes and operations.*

  • RecommendationsEight Steps to Safer Refineries (Preliminary)

    3. Test Alternative Solutions Each refining company should test pilot alkylation operations using an existing safer alternative method including solid acid and liquid ionic processes.

    4. Share Lessons to Speed Effective Transition Share lessons learned from pilot operations to enlist all stakeholders in moving alternatives forward.*

  • RecommendationsEight Steps to Safer Refineries (Preliminary)5. Commit to Getting the HF OutCommit to a goal of replacing all HF-using alkylation processes with safer alternatives as soon as possible (e.g., within 10 years).

    6. Make Existing Processes & Operations Much SaferApply all necessary resources to ensure that HF processes and mitigation systems are in optimal working order, regularly inspected, and subject to rigorous audits and preventative maintenance.Engage in an open process for developing, testing and critiquing prevention, preparedness and response capabilities including drills.At least annually, appraise all stakeholders with a site-based record of significant operational upsets and loss of primary containment incidents, equipment failures, etc.*

  • RecommendationsEight Steps to Safer Refineries (Preliminary)7. Comprehensively Inspect and Enforce Regulations During the Transition to Safer Chemicals/Processes Increase inspections and assessments to ensure full compliance with all applicable regulations, standards, laws and ordinances.8. Ensure Staffing to Sufficiently Prevent, Prepare and Respond Use nuclear industry and other models to ensure staffing (numbers, qualifications, experience and competencies) to ensure optimal safety during all operations including emergencies. *