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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #142429
State Police #12-05780
Accident Date2012-08-28
Report Date 2012-09-04
Follow-up Date 2012-10-25
Follow-up: Yes

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Butadiene6dmultipleNONOYES1,791.4 pounds
Toluene6dmultipleNONONO1,207.7 pounds
Particulate Matter6dmultipleNOYESNO4,123.2 pounds
Carbon Monoxide6dmultipleNOYESNO119,184.7 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide6dmultipleNOYESNO33,102.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)6dmultipleNONOYES54,131.9 pounds
Hexane6dmultipleNONONO566.8 pounds
Benzene6dmultipleNONOYES1,993.6 pounds
1,3-Butadiene6dmultipleNONOYES1,136.4 pounds
Ethylbenzene6dmultipleNONOYES153.8 pounds
Xylene6dmultipleNONONO615.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide6 dmultipleNOYESYES21,872.6 pounds

Accident Classified As: Reportable Quantity

Cause of Problem: Weather

Motiva Enterprises LLC, Norco Refinery is providing a preliminary report for a verbal notification on August 28, 2012 at 1854 hours of a release of 1,3 butadiene, benzene, carbon dioxide, ethylene, flammable gas, hexane, methane, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, propylene and sulfur dioxide from flaring and potential releases to atmosphere from the unexpected shutdown and restart of the site before and during inclement weather due to landfall of Hurricane Isaac. On August 28, 2012, Shell Chemical Norco Site operation was adversely affected by inclement weather due to the landfall of Hurricane Isaac. Several of Shell's Units were un-expectantly shutdown due to safety concerns associated with operating in the weather conditions brought on by the landfall of Hurricane Isaac. All materials were released lo the atmosphere from the associated flare's, and dispersed naturally.

Discharge Preventable - No

This incident was not preventable by Shell Chemical/Motiva Enterprises. The releases were a result of adverse weather conditions associated with the landfall of Hurricane Isaac.

Notes/Remedial Actions

Recovery and preparations for a safe re-start of the site is ongoing (Notification on September 4th). Data gathering to perform calculations and investigation are ongoing. Motiva will provide an update within 60 days as required by LAC 33:1 3925.A.3. The updates were each a word for word copy of the original written notification letter from Motiva. There were also duplicate letters printed on the Shell Chemical letterhead that contained all of the same details from the Motiva reports. At this time (May 22 2013) LDEQ is still processing the update that they claim will have final calculations from their investigation. February 20, 2013 is the most recent follow-up that LABB was able to find (Update May 2013 - we requested the final summary report from LDEQ and received this final report that was published April 25th, 2013). The final report lists completely different pollutants than the list that was being reported in prior written notifications. These inconsistencies are not addressed in the report. Final summary report from Shell chemical 4/25/2013: Shell Chemical operations look the necessary steps to safely shut units down and minimize emissions resulting from the weather associated with Hurricane Isaac. Operations assessed damages, made repairs to equipment and safely return process units to normal operating conditions. RCCU at Motiva Enterprises (from final summary letter dated april 25 2012) On August 29, 2012, Motiva's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) initiated a shutdown of the process unit due to inclement weather associated with Hurricane Isaac making landfall. During this time, the RCCU experienced an unexpected loss of flare pilot indication at the RCCU Elevated Flare, and a loss of pilot indication on the RCCU CO Heater due to hurricane force winds. An inadvertent catalyst leak developed during this time on level indicator Ll1548. Subsequently, the pH control on the circulation water for the RCCU Flue Gas Scrubber was lost at this time. The reportable quantities for volatile organic compounds and particulate matter were exceeded during this time. Additional details on reportable quantity and permit limit exceedences are listed in the following tables of this report. (also from April 25th report) Shell Chemical Venting to Motiva West Operations Ground Flare On August 29, 2012, Shell Chemical's G0-1 Process Unit flared at Motiva's West Operations Ground Flare due to shutdown and startup activities due to adverse weather conditions associated with the landfall of Hurricane Isaac. Details of the flaring by Shell Chemical are addressed in a separate letter from Shell. A total of the VOCs is given, but report states certain VOCs (carbon dioxide, ethylene, flammable gas, methane, propylene) that do not have breakdown of individual amounts released anywhere. This event did not result in an emergency condition. There were no fatalities, injuries or road closures. Planning and review meetings were held, learning's will be executed in future weather related occurrences as appropriate.