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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #158077
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #14-03594
Accident Date2014-08-14
Report Date 2014-09-05
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 Monoxide18mResidual Cat Cracking UnitNOYESNO497.3 pounds
NOx18mResidual Cat Cracking UnitNONOYES91.4 pounds
Particulate Matter18mResidual Cat Cracking UnitNOYESNO17.2 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide18mResidual Cat Cracking UnitNOYESNO7.8 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)18mResidual Cat Cracking UnitNONOYES321.4 pounds

Accident Classified As: Below Reportable Quantity (BRQ)

Cause of Problem: Instrument Failure

On September 5, 2014 Motiva Enterprises in Norco reported a potential release of n-butane adn 2-butene. On August 14, 2014 the Residual Cat Cracking Unit (RCCU) had an unanticipated flaring event at the RCCU Elevated Flare when the RCCU's Debutanizer Overhead Accumulator began to unexpectedly overpressure. Pumps located at the Debutanizer received a false indication that a valve was in the closed position causing the pumps to shut down. Once the pumps shut down, the liquid level in the Debutanizer Overhead Accumulator increased with the unit column pressure. The valve on the Debutanizer Overhead Accumulator was opened to the flare to relieve the column pressure and to prevent any relief valves (RVs) in the unit from relieving to the atmosphere.

Discharge Preventable - No

The incident was caused by an unpredictable instrument failure that could not be foreseen.

Notes/Remedial Actions

Operations investigated and verified that the system reading was false and the valve was not closed. Action was taken to bypass the valve and the pumps were able to start again. Once the pumps were restarted, the pressure stabilized in the unit and the flaring stopped. The electrical department investigated the issue and discovered that the wiring was no longer in good condition. The electrical department replaced the wiring to the pump valve indicator.