Accident: Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refinery Fire and Explosions
Location: Location: Philadelphia, PA
Accident Occurred On: 06/21/2019 | Final Report Released On: 10/11/2022
Accident Type: Oil and Refining - Fire and Explosion
Investigation Status: The CSB's investigation was released on October 11, 2022.
At approximately 4 am on Friday June 21, 2019 there was a release of vapor in the PES refinery alkylation unit. The vapor found an ignition source, causing a fire and multiple explosions.
Update API RP 751 Safe Operation of Hydrofluoric Acid Alkylation Units to require the following:
Revise ASTM A234 to incorporate supplementary requirements for piping used in HF service, as defined in HF supplementary requirements S9.1 through S9.7 in ASTM A106 version 19a.
Develop a program that prioritizes and emphasizes inspections of refinery HF alkylation units, for example under EPA’s National Compliance Initiative called Reducing Risks of Accidental Releases at Industrial and Chemical Facilities. As part of this program, verify that HF alkylation units are complying with API RP 751 Safe Operation of Hydrofluoric Acid Alkylation Units, including but not limited to the implementation of a special emphasis inspection program to inspect all individual carbon steel piping components and welds to identify areas of accelerated corrosion; the protection of safety-critical safeguards and associated control system components, including but not limited to wiring and cabling for control systems and primary and backup power supplies, from fire and explosion hazards including radiant heat and flying projectiles (per recommendation 2019-04-I-PA-R4); and the installation of remotely-operated emergency isolation valves on the inlet(s) and outlet(s) of all hydrofluoric acid containing vessels, and hydrocarbon containing vessels meeting defined threshold quantities (per recommendation 2019-04-I-PA-R4).
Revise 40 C.F.R. Part 68 (EPA Risk Management Plan) to require new and existing petroleum refineries with HF alkylation units to conduct a safer technology and alternatives analysis (STAA) and to evaluate the practicability of any inherently safer technology (IST) identified. Require that these evaluations are performed every 5 years as a part of an initial PHA as well as PHA revalidations.
Per the requirements in EPA Rule Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, initiate prioritization to evaluate whether hydrofluoric acid is a High-Priority Substance for risk evaluation. If it is determined to be a High-Priority Substance, conduct a risk evaluation of hydrofluoric acid to determine whether it presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. If it is determined to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, apply requirements to hydrofluoric acid to the extent necessary to eliminate or significantly mitigate the risk, for example by using a methodology such as the hierarchy of controls.