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Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #149323
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #13-02742
Accident Date2013-06-20
Report Date 2013-06-27
Follow-up Date 0000-00-00
Follow-up: No

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Carbon Monoxide1hEPN 1-90 GO-1 Elevated Flare FE-602NOYESNO1,204.3 pounds
NOx1hGO-1 Elevated FlareNONOYES221.3 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)1hEPN 1-90 GO-1 Elevated Flare FE-602NONOYES464.3 pounds
Particulate Matter1hEPN 1-90 GO-1 Elevated Flare FE-602NOYESNO618.4 pounds

Accident Classified As: Below Reportable Quantity (BRQ)

Cause of Problem: Process Upset

On June 20, an upset in the Shell Chemical's GO-1 unit caused by the AC Converter high temperatures due to unforeseen low hydrogen purity from the Pressure Swing Absorber which was started up and placed in service following the GO-1 South turnaround. The unforeseen low hydrogen purity prompted operations to divert feed to the elevated flare to prevent an off specification incident with ethylene production. This resulted in flaring at the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90).

Discharge Preventable - No

Hydrogen purity was low due to unforeseen startup issues with PSA hydrogen purification issues in GO-1.

Notes/Remedial Actions

GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to minimize flaring, restart the PSA and safely return the unit to normal operating conditions. The PSA was isolated from the header and remained isolated until lab samples indicated on specification hydrogen. To prevent recurrence, operations will incorporate additional guidance and operational measures into the PSA start up procedures to proactively identify unforeseen low hydrogen purity. The procedure will be updated with steps to ensure on specification hydrogen prior to introducing into the header. Shell claims no reportable quantities were exceeded, but CO and NOx emissions exceed lb/hr permit limits.