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Hico Plant

Parent Companies:
Duke Energy Field Services
EPA Facility ID:
Other ID:
Facility DUNS:
Parent Company DUNS:


3 miles East of Hico on HWY 545
Hico, LA 71238
Lat / Long:
32.732, -92.664 (Get map)
GPS - Unspecified
Center of Facility
Horizonal accuracy:
Horizontal reference datum:
Source map scale:


Duke Energy Field Services, Inc.
(303) 595-3331
370 17th Street, Suite 900
Denver, CO 80202
Foreign Address:

Person responsible for RMP implementation:

Jesse Sanders
Director of Operations

Emergency contact:

Joey Wallace
Plant Foreman
(318) 777-8512
24-hour phone:
(318) 377-3880
Ext or PIN:

Other contacts:

Facility (or company) email:
Facility phone:
Facility (or company) URL:


Local Emergency Planning Committee:
Lincoln Parish LEPC
Full-Time Equivalent Employees:
Covered by OSHA PSM:
EPCRA section 302:
CAA Title Air Operating Permit:
CAA Permit ID#:
OSHA Star/Merit Ranking
Last Safety Inspection Date:
Inspecting Agency:
never had one
Using Predictive Filing:


Gas Plant
CBI claimed:
Program Level:
Natural Gas Liquid Extraction (211112)
Chemical name
Quantity (lbs.)
Flammable Mixture
Public OCA Chemical

RMP Preparer:


Foreign Address:


Latest RMP Submission:

June 21, 1999
First-time submission


Effective Date:
Other Reason:

2. Toxics: Worst-case


3. Toxics: Alternative release


4. Flammables: Worst-case

Some Risk Management Plan information is not provided in the available RMP data. You need to make an appointment at an EPA Reading Room In order to get access to details from the Off-Site Consequence Analysis (OCA) such as:

Instructions on how to make an EPA appointment can be found here.

Public OCA Chemical (in Gas Plant)
CBI claimed:
Model used:
EPA's RMP*Comp(TM)
Passive mitigation
  • None
not considered:
  • Blast walls

5. Flammables: Alternative release

Some Risk Management Plan information is not provided in the available RMP data. You need to make an appointment at an EPA Reading Room In order to get access to details from the Off-Site Consequence Analysis (OCA) such as:

Instructions on how to make an EPA appointment can be found here.

Public OCA Chemical (in Gas Plant)
CBI claimed:
Model used:
EPA's RMP*Comp(TM)
Passive mitigation
  • None
not considered:
  • Dikes
  • Fire wall
  • Blast walls
  • Enclosures
Active mitigation
  • None
not considered:
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Deluge systems
  • Water curtain
  • Excess flow valve

6. Five-year accident history

Sept. 30, 1998 at 13:30
Natural Gas Liquid Extraction (211112)
1 minutes
Chemicals involved:
  • Flammable Mixture
Release events:
Gas release
Weather conditions at time of event
Wind speed:
None meters/second
None ℉
Atmospheric stability:
Precipitation present:
Unknown weather conditions:
On-site impacts
Deaths of employees or contractors:
Deaths of public responders:
Deaths of public:
Injuries of employees or contractors:
Injuries of public responders:
Injuries of public:
Property damage:
Known off-site impacts
Medicals treatments:
Property damage:
Environmental damage:
Initiating event:
Human Error
Contributing factors:
  • Equipment failure
Off-site responders notified:
No, not notified
Changes introduced as a result of the accident:
  • Improved/upgraded equipment

7. Prevention: Program level 3

Gas Plant, Natural Gas Liquid Extraction (211112)
Prevention Program ID:
Safety Review Date
June 1, 1998, since latest RMP submission
PHA Update Date
May 1, 1997, since latest RMP submission
PHA Techniques
Hazards Identified
  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Overpressurization
  • Corrosion
  • Overfilling
  • Contamination
  • Equipment failure
  • Cooling loss
Process Controls
  • Vents
  • Relief Valves
  • Check Valves
  • Scrubbers
  • Manual Shutoffs
  • Automatic Shutoffs
  • Interlocks
  • Alarms
  • Backup Pump
  • Grounding Equipment
  • Inhibitor Addition
Mitigation Systems
  • Dikes
Monitoring Systems
  • None
Changes since PHA
  • None
Training Type
  • Classrom
  • On the Job
Competency Testing
  • None
Procedure Review Date
March 1, 1999, since latest RMP submission
Training Review Date
Feb. 1, 1998, since latest RMP submission
Maintenance Review Date
Feb. 1, 1998, since latest RMP submission
Maintenance Inspection Date
Feb. 3, 1998, since latest RMP submission
Equipment Tested
Management of Change Most Recent Date
June 30, 1998
Management of Change Review Date
Feb. 19, 1999
Pre-startup Review Date
Compliance Audit Date
May 1, 1997
Compliance Audit Change Completion Date
Dec. 1, 1999
Incident Investigation Date
June 11, 1998
Incident Invest. Change Completion Date
July 1, 1998
Participation Plan Review Date
March 19, 1999
Hot Work Review Date
May 20, 1999
Contractor Safety Review Date
Jan. 28, 1999, since latest RMP submission
Contractor Safety Eval. Date
Feb. 1, 1998, since latest RMP submission

8. Prevention Program level 2

No Prevention Program level 2

9. Emergency response

Facility In Community Plan:
Facility Own Response Plan:
Specific Facility Response Plan:
Inform. Procedures in Response Plan:
Emergency Care in Response Plan:
Plan Review Date:
Response Training Date:
March 1, 1999
Local Response Agency:
Local Response Agency Phone:
(318) 255-1055
Subject To - OSHA EAP:
Subject To - CWA:
Subject To - RCRA:
Subject To - OPA:
Subject To - State EPCRA:
Subject To - Other:

Executive Summary

28362 LDEQ Facility ID Number

Hico Gas Plant

Executive Summary


The Hico Gas Plant has a long-standing commitment to worker and public safety. This commitment is demonstrated by the resources invested in accident prevention, such as training personnel and considering safety in the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of our processes. Our policy is to implement reasonable controls to prevent foreseeable releases of regulated substances. However, if a release does occur, gas plant trained personnel will respond to control and contain the release.


The Hico Gas Plant located near Hico, Louisiana, uses cryogenic fractionation to separate ethane and heavier hydrocarbons from raw wellhead gas to produce marketable natural gas. The plant is manned 8 hour a day, seven days a week. As a result of this operation, several EPA regulated flammable substances are processed, recovered, and stored at the facility (e.g., methane, ethane, propane, iso-butane, n-butane, iso-pentane and n-pentane). The Hico plant does not use or store any regulated toxic substances above the EPA set threshold levels.


There is no worst-case scenario (WCS) associated with toxic substance in Program Level 3 processes at the gas plant. The plant does not use of store any regulated toxic substances at or above the EPA set threshold levels.

The worst-case scenario (WCS) associated with a release of flammable substances in Program Level 3 process at the gas plant is a vapor cloud explosion (VCE) resulting from a release of 130,000 pounds (100% of tank capacity) of Y-Grade liquefied gas from the plant's largest storage vessel. Although we have numerous controls to prevent such releases and to manage their consequences, no credit for administrative controls, or active or passive mitigation measures w
ere taken into account in evaluating this WCS. The maximum distance to the 1-psi endpoint for this WCS is 0.4 mile. Four public and zero environmental receptors were identified within the 0.4 mile radius. The public receptors were two residences, a pasture, and timberland. Estimated residential population within the 0.4 mile radius was 6 people.

The selected alternative release scenario (ARS) for flammable substances at the gas plant is a vapor cloud fire resulting from the release of 49,500 pound per hour of natural gas due to a 1" nipple failure on the plant's residue gas compressor. The maximum distance to the lower flammability limit of 33 mg/L for this event is 0.1 mile. Two public and zero environmental receptors were identified within the 0.1 mile radius. The public receptors were a pasture and timberland. No residential receptors were identified. Estimated residential population within the 0.1 mile radius was 0 people. This event was selected as being a practical scenario for use in emergency planning and response.


The following is a summary of the accidental release prevention program in place at the plant. Because processes at the gas plant that are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) risk management program regulation are also subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) process safety management (PSM) standard, this summary addresses each of the OSHA PSM elements and describes the management system in place to implement PROGRAM 3 under EPA's accidental release prevention program.

Employee Participation

The Hico Gas Plant encourages employees to participate in all facets of process safety management and accident prevention. Examples of employee participation range from updating and compiling process safety information to participation as a member of a process hazard analysis (PHA) team. Employees have access to all information created as pa
rt of the gas plant's PSM and accidental release prevention programs. These programs are documented in an employee participation plan that is maintained at the gas plant and addresses each element of PSM and the accidental release prevention programs. In addition, the gas plant has a number of initiatives under way that address process safety and employee safety issues. These initiatives include plant safety meetings and safety training to promote both process and personal safety.

Process Safety Information

The Hico Gas Plant keeps a variety of technical documents that are used to help maintain safe operation of the processes. These documents address chemical properties and associated hazard, limits for key process parameters and specific chemical inventories, and equipment design basis/configuration information. The plant foreman in conjunction with plant personnel is assigned the responsibility for maintaining up-to-date process safety information.

Chemical-specific information, including exposure hazards and emergency response/exposure treatment considerations, is provided in material safety data sheets (MSDS). This information is supplemented by documents that specifically address known corrosion concerns and any known hazards associated with the inadvertent mixing of chemicals. For specific process areas, the gas plant has documented safety-related limits for specific process parameters (e.g., temperature, level, composition) in the plant's Operating Procedures. The gas plant ensures that the process is maintained within these limits using process controls and monitoring instruments, highly trained personnel, and protective instrument systems (e.g., automated shutdown systems).

The gas plant also maintains numerous technical documents that provide information about the design and construction of process equipment. This information includes material of construction, design pressure and temperature ratings, and electrical rating of equipment. This
information, in combination with trained personnel, provides a basis for establishing inspection and maintenance activities, as well as for evaluating proposed process and facility changes to ensure that safety features in the process are not compromised.

Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)

The Hico Gas Plant has a comprehensive program to help ensure that hazards associated with the various processes are identified and controlled. Within this program, each process is systematically examined to identify hazards and ensure that adequate controls are in place to manage these hazards.

The Hico Gas Plant primarily uses the HAZOP analysis technique to perform these evaluations. OSHA and the EPA recognize the analysis as an approved method for conducting PHAs. Plant PHAs are conducted using a team of people who have operating and maintenance experience as well as engineering and safety expertise. The team identifies and evaluates hazards of the process as well as accident prevention and mitigation measures, and the team makes suggestions for additional prevention and/or mitigation measures when the team believes such measures are necessary.

The PHA team findings are forwarded to company's local and corporate Safety Departments for resolution. Implementation of mitigation options in response to PHA findings is based on a relative risk ranking assigned by the PHA team. This ranking helps ensure that potential accident scenarios assigned the highest risk receive immediate attention. All approved mitigation options in response to PHA team findings are tracked until they are completed. The final resolution of each finding is documented and retained.

To help ensure that the process controls and/or process hazards do not eventually deviate significantly from the original design safety features, the plant periodically updates and revalidates the hazard analysis results. These periodic reviews are conducted at least every 5 years and will be conducted at this frequency unt
il the process is no longer operating. The results and findings from these updates are documented and retained. Once again, the team findings are forwarded to management for consideration, and the final resolution of the findings is documented and retained.

Operating Procedures

The Hico Gas Plant maintains written procedures that address various modes of process operations, such as (1) unit startup, (2) normal operations, (3) temporary operations, (4) emergency shutdown, (5) normal shutdown, and (6) initial startup of a new process. These procedures can be used as a reference by experienced operators and provide a basis for consistent training of new operators. These procedures are periodically reviewed and annually certified as current and accurate. The procedures are kept current and accurate by revising them as necessary to reflect changes made through the management of change process.

In addition, Hico Gas Plant's Operating Procedures provide guidance on how to respond to process equipment operating outside their upper or lower limits. Operating Procedures are readily available to operators and for other personnel to use as necessary to safely perform their job tasks.


To complement the written procedures for process operations, the Hico Gas Plant has implemented a comprehensive training program for all employees involved in operating a process. New employees receive basic training in gas plant operations if they are not already familiar with such operations. After successfully completing this training, a new operator is paired with a senior operator to learn process-specific duties and tasks. After operators demonstrate (e.g., through tests, skills demonstration) having adequate knowledge to perform the duties and tasks in a safe manner on their own, they can work independently. In addition, all operators periodically receive refresher training on the operating procedures to ensure that their skills and knowledge are maintained at an accept
able level. This refresher training is conducted at least every 3 years. All of this training is documented for each operator, including the means used to verify that the operator understood the training.


The Hico Gas Plant uses contractors to supplement its workforce during periods of increased maintenance or construction activities. Because some contractors work on or near process equipment, the gas plant has procedures in place to ensure that contractors (1) perform their work in a safe manner, (2) have the appropriate knowledge and skills, (3) are aware of the hazards in their workplace, (4) understand what they should do in the event of an emergency, (5) understand and follow site safety rules, and (6) inform gas plant personnel of any hazards that they find during their work. This is accomplished by providing contractors with (1) a process overview, (2) information about safety and health hazards, (3) emergency response plan requirements, and (4) safe work practices prior to their beginning work. In addition, the Hico Gas Plant evaluates contractor safety programs and performance during the selection of a contractor. Gas plant personnel periodically monitor contractor performance to ensure that contractors are fulfilling their safety obligations.

Pre-startup Safety Reviews (PSSRs)

The Hico Gas Plant conducts a PSSR for any new facility or facility modification that requires a change in the process safety information. The purpose of the PSSR is to ensure that safety features, procedures, personnel, and equipment are appropriately prepared for startup prior to placing the equipment into service. This review provides one additional check to make sure construction is in accordance with the design specifications and that all supporting systems are operationally ready. The PSSR review team uses checklists to verify all aspects of readiness. A PSSR involves field verification of the construction and serves a quality assurance function by req
uiring verification that accident prevention program requirements are properly implemented.

Mechanical Integrity

The Hico Gas Plant has established practices and procedures to maintain pressure vessels, piping systems, relief and vent systems, controls, pumps and compressors, and emergency shutdown systems in a safe operating condition. The basic aspects of this program include: (1) conducting training, (2) developing written procedures, (3) performing inspections and tests, (4) correcting identified deficiencies, and (5) applying quality assurance measures. In combination, these activities form a system that maintains the mechanical integrity of the process.

Maintenance personnel receive training on (1) an overview of the process, (2) safety and health hazards, (3) applicable maintenance procedures, (4) emergency response plans, and (5) applicable safe work practices to help ensure that they can perform their jobs in a safe manner. Equipment manufacturer's written procedures help ensure that work is performed in a consistent manner and provide a basis for training. Inspections and tests are performed in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations to help ensure that equipment functions as intended and to verify that equipment is within acceptable limits (e.g., adequate wall thickness for pressure vessels). If a deficiency is identified, employees will correct the deficiency before placing the equipment back into service (if possible), or place temporary safeguards in place to ensure the safe operation of the equipment.

Another integral part of the mechanical integrity program is quality assurance. The Hico Gas Plant incorporates quality assurance measures into equipment purchases and repair. This helps ensure that new equipment is suitable for its intended use and that proper materials and spare parts are used when repairs are made.

Safe Work Practice

The Hico Gas Plant has long-standing, safe work practices in place to help ensure worker and p
rocess safety. Examples of these include (1) control of the entry/presence/exit of support personnel, (2) a lockout/tagout procedure to ensure isolation of energy sources for equipment undergoing maintenance, (3) a procedure for safe removal of hazardous substances before process piping or equipment is opened, (4) a permit and procedure to control spark-producing activities (i.e., hot work), and (5) a permit and procedure to ensure that adequate precautions are in place before entry into a confined space. These procedures (and others), along with training of affected personnel, form a system to help ensure that operations and maintenance activities are performed safely.

Management of Change

The Hico Gas Plant has a comprehensive system to manage changes to all covered processes. This system requires that changes to items such as process equipment, chemicals, technology (including process operating conditions), procedures, and other facility changes to be properly reviewed and authorized before being implemented. Changes are reviewed to (1) ensure that adequate controls are in place to manage any new hazards and (2) verify that existing controls have not been compromised by the change. Affected chemical hazard information, process operating limits, and equipment information, as well as procedures are updated to incorporate these changes. In addition, operating and maintenance personnel are provided any necessary training on the change.

Incident Investigation

Duke Energy's Safety Department promptly investigates all incidents that resulted in, or reasonably could have resulted in, a fire/explosion, toxic gas release, major property damage, environmental loss, or personal injury. The goal of each investigation is to determine the facts and develop corrective actions to prevent a recurrence of the incident or a similar incident. The investigation team documents its findings, develops recommendations to prevent a recurrence, and forwards these results to mana
gement for resolution. Corrective actions taken in response to the investigation team's findings and recommendations are tracked until they are complete. The final resolution of each finding or recommendation is documented, and the investigation results are reviewed with all employees (including contractors) who could be affected by the findings. Incident investigation reports are retained for at least 5 years so that the reports can be reviewed during future PHAs and PHA revalidations.

Compliance Audits

To help ensure that the accident prevention program is functioning properly, the Hico Gas Plant periodically conducts an audit to determine whether the procedures and practices required by the accident prevention program are being implemented. Compliance audits are conducted at least every 3 years. Audit findings are forwarded to the company's Safety Department for resolution. The Safety Department initiates any corrective actions taken in response to the audit and tracks them until they are complete. The final resolution of each finding is documented, and the two most recent audit reports are retained.


The processes at the Hico Gas Plant have hazards that must be managed to ensure continued safe operation. The following is a description of existing safety features applicable to prevention of accidental releases of regulated substances in the facility.

Universal Prevention Activities

The accidental release prevention program summarized previously is applied to all RMP-covered processes at the Hico Gas Plant. Collectively, these prevention program activities help prevent potential accident scenarios that could be caused by equipment failures and human errors.

Specialized Safety Features

The Hico Gas Plant has safety features on many units to help (1) contain/control a release, (2) quickly detect a release, and (3) reduce the consequences of (mitigate) a release. The following types of safety features are used in the
covered processes:

Release Detection

1. Daily operator inspection.

2. Portable gas detectors.

Release Containment/Control

1. Process relief valves that prevent vessel over pressurization.

2. Valves to permit isolation of the process (manual or automated).

3. Automated shutdown systems for specific process parameters (e.g., high temperature).

4. Curbing or diking to contain liquid releases.

5. Redundant equipment and instrumentation (e.g., uninterruptible power supply for process control system).

Release Mitigation

1. Fire suppression and extinguishing systems.

2. Trained emergency response personnel (HAZWOPER, fire response).

3. Personal protective equipment (e.g., hard hat, safety glasses, protective clothing).


We investigate every incident very carefully to determine ways to prevent similar incidents from recurring. The Hico Plant has an excellent accident prevention record. There has been only one accident in the past five years involving an EPA listed substance. The accident involved a release liquefied petroleum gas during truck loading. The loading hose was not completely depressured before being disconnected from truck. When driver/loader tried to disconnect hose, hose hit driver/loader injuring his hand. The subsequent investigation identified the cause of the release and the problem has been corrected.


The Hico Gas Plant maintains a written emergency response plan, which is in place to protect worker and public safety as well as the environment. The plan consists of procedures for responding to a release of a regulated substance, including the possibility of a fire or explosion if a flammable substance is accidentally released. The procedures address all aspects of emergency response, including proper first aid and medical treatment for exposures, evacuation plans and accounting for personnel after an evacuation, notification of local emergency response
agencies and the public if a release occurs, and post incident cleanup and decontamination requirements.

In addition, the plant has procedures that address maintenance, inspection, and testing of emergency response equipment, as well as instructions that address the use of emergency response equipment. Employees receive training in these procedures as necessary to perform their specific emergency response duties.

The emergency response plan is updated when necessary based on modifications made to gas plant process or other Hico Gas Plant facilities. The emergency response program changes are administered through the MOC process, which includes informing and/or training affected personnel in the changes.

The emergency response plan for the Hico Gas Plant is coordinated with the Lincoln Parish Fire Department. The Hico Gas Plant has around-the-clock communications capability with the fire department, which provides a means of notifying the public of an incident, if necessary, as well as facilitating quick response to an incident.

The Hico Gas Plant resolves all findings from PHAs, some of which result in modifications to the process. The following types of changes are planned over the next few years in response to PHA, safety audit, and incident investigation findings:

7 Operator computer based training (CBT) on operating procedures.
7 Installation of vent header.