Home Search Emissions Pollutants About the Database

Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #152132
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #13-04891
Accident Date2013-11-03
Report Date 2013-11-07
Follow-up Date 2013-11-20
Follow-up: Yes

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Carbon Monoxide5h 30mOL-5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)NOYESNO5,713.0 pounds
NOx5h 30mOL-5 Ground Flare and Elevated FlareNONOYES1,050.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)5h 30mOL-5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)NONOYES4,425.6 pounds
Particulate Matter5h 30mOL-5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)NOYESNO2,933.7 pounds

Accident Classified As: Reportable Quantity

Cause of Problem: Process Upset

On November 3, 2013, OL-5 had an unexpected process upset which resulted in flaring at the OL-5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84). The flaring resulted from OL-5 taking a stream into the unit from OP-1 which caused the Acetylene Converter to go off specification. The material was flared at the OL-5 Ground Flare and OL-5 Elevated Flare to prevent additional upsets in OL-5.

Discharge Preventable - Yes

The report states that Shell Chemical determined the release was preventable, but no additional information was given.

Notes/Remedial Actions

Once OL-5 Operations was aware that the acetylene content increased above specification in the outlet of the acetylene converters, OL-5 Operations followed normal procedure and diverted the acetylene converter effluent to the OL-5 flare system until the Acetylene converter effluent was back in specification. The material was flared to prevent additional upsets in the unit. OL-5 operations immediately stopped the OP-1 de-ethanizer tops flow into the unit and ethylene product flow to the pipeline. The ethylene splitter received some of the high acetylene process gas exiting the acetylene converters. The ethylene splitter overhead and the liquid in the ethylene splitter reflux drum were sent to the flare until the column was also back on specification. Once the ethylene product stream was back on specification, the ethylene product leaving the ethylene splitter was returned to the pipeline and the flaring stopped. Report states that all released materials were dispersed naturally in the atmosphere from the OL-5 Ground and OL-5 Elevated flare stacks. Currently, an investigation is occurring. The results from this investigation will be incorporated, where applicable, into the standard work processes at the OL-5 Unit to prevent recurrence. Shell Chemical confirmed that the reportable quantity for Highly Reactive Organic Compounds was exceeded. The maximum permitted limits were exceeded for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.