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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #134190
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #11-05968
Accident Date2011-09-26
Report Date 2011-09-29
Follow-up Date 2011-11-03
Follow-up: Yes

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Carbon Monoxide1 d 23 h 10 m8-84 RCCU Elevated flareNOYESNO2,874.5 pounds
Nitric Oxide1 d 23 h 10 m8-84 RCCU Elevated flareNOYESNO528.3 pounds
Particulate Matter1 d 23 h 10 m8-84 RCCU Elevated flareNOYESNO99.4 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide1 d 23 h 10 m8-84 RCCU Elevated flareNOYESNO91.2 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)1 d 23 h 10 m8-84 RCCU Elevated flareNONOYES1,396.2 pounds
Carbon Monoxide11 hGO-1 Elevated FlareNOYESNO4,909.8 pounds
Nitric Oxide11 hGO-1 Elevated FlareNOYESNO902.3 pounds
Particulate Matter11 hGO-1 Elevated FlareNOYESNO169.9 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide11 hGO-1 Elevated FlareNOYESNO29,547.2 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)11 hGO-1 Elevated FlareNONOYES1,328.6 pounds
Hexane11 hGO-1 Elevated FlareNONONO123.3 pounds

Accident Classified As: Reportable Quantity

Cause of Problem: Seal or Gasket

On 9/26/11, Motiva's RCCU Process Unit identified smoke exiting the insulation on the process unit's reactor stripper overhead piping, indicating a leak of hydrocarbon. Consequently, the RCCU process unit had to divert feed causing flaring to occur at the RCCU Flare (EPN 8-89). The process unit safely diverted feed and continued to maintain catalyst circulation in order to avoid additional flaring. All operational and safety procedures were following at this time. Immediately after stabilizing the unit, insulation was removed from the overhead piping to determine the source of the leak. the leak was identified as a set of flanges on the reactor stripper overhead piping. Attempts were made to re-torque the flanges and stop the leak. However, the re-torquing efforts were unsuccessful and a decision was made to fabricate and install a blade clamp to permanently stop the leak. As of 9/28/11, the blade clamp was installed and the leak on the overhead piping had stopped. The RCCU had been restarted following all operational and safety procedures and remained at steady operation. the RGHT had not been restarted at that time. On 9/26/11 Motiva Enterprises LLC RCCU unit was shut down to do some maintenance work. Flaring occurred at the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 9-84) as a result of the restart of Motiva's RCCU Unit. Untreated dry gas from the RCCU is flared during the restart of the RCCU at the GO-1 Elevated flare before the dry gas can be introduced to GO-1 as a feed.

Discharge Preventable - No

The incident was not preventable by Motiva. The system is routinely inspected and no issues indicating imminent failure had been identified prior to failure. The incident was also not preventable by Shell Chemical. Shell cannot accept the quality of the dry gas as unit feed during a RCCU startup.

Notes/Remedial Actions

The RCCU diverted feed and continued to maintain catalyst circulation in order to avoid additional flaring and stabilize the unit. Operations worked to identify the source of the leak and made preparations for repair. The flanges associated with the leak source were re-torqued in an attempt to stop the leak. A box clamp was fabricated and installed to encapsulate and stop the leak. Maximum lb/hr limits were exceeded for sulfur dioxide and VOC's, because the incident release was spread out across close to 3 days no reportable quantities were exceeded. Two follow up letters were received.