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Motiva Enterprises (2719), Convent

Causal Factor: Human Factors

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release

Plant 21 Piperack
Cause: A welder in the Plant 21 Piperack released his electrode holder to suspend from the pipe as he maneuvered in the piperack. The electrode contracted a 1/2-inch instrumentation line on a hydrogen line and subsequently arced. The arcing caused the electrode to melt a small hole in the instrumentation line. The welder noticed this caused a gas release/fire. The welder notified the shift coordinator, who in-turn notified the shift superintendent.

Followup: No

Notes: The immediate area was evacuated, as IES and Motiva's emergency response staff responded to the incident. Off-site air monitoring was conducted for hazardous vapors, but there was no apparent off-site impact. The release and fire were stopped via water suppression and blocking-in a valve up-flow from the release point. Several actions will be taken to prevent future recurrences. Communications between Operations, Safety and contractor personnel will be more clear and detailed in regards to the work area, safety issues, and countermeasures. More thorough inspection of each work area will be conducted while determining safety hazards and necessary countermeasures. Primarily, the welder will take care in movement and placement of the electrode during and after use, so as to not inadvertently contact components causing an arc.
Hydrogen: 261.0 pounds

near Old Bundle Cleaning Slab
Cause: Contractor spilled hazardous waste while trying to move a vacuum box which was not properly closed onto a truck parked on an uneven surface.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Met with contractors to review checklists for boxes and training requirements for all employees who haul hazardous waste. Asked contractors to review report & training with employees.
Primary Separation Sludge: 17.0 pounds

truck fuel tank
Cause: Truck driver hit a pole after delivering to Motiva, rupturing a saddle fuel tank and spilling 50 gal diesel fuel; 6 gal got into storm drain. Report letter from Schwerman Trucking Co. not Motiva.

Followup: No

Notes: spill recovered with absorbents, blocked off storm drain line, vacuum truck recovered 6gal that got into storm drain, contaminated crushed shells and dirt along roadway removed and replaced with clean ones.
Diesel Fuel: 50.0 gallons

Unspecified location
Cause: A truck driver encroached upon the edge of an embankment which caused the tractor-trailer rig to turn over

Followup: No

Notes: Motiva used sand to dam off the containment ditch both upstream and downstream of the spill. Motiva will widen roadway, install barricades, and improve lighting
Spent Catalyst: 30,000.0 pounds
Oil: 42.0 gallons

Broken Pipe
Cause: Steam release only, contractor cut into a pipe and got a blister on his right wrist.

Followup: No

Notes: Went to St. Elizabeth's ER for treatment. No letter or report from Motiva.


protection suit
Cause: Worker burned on wrist by sulfuric acid residue during decontamination procedure after repairing a sulfuric acid leak in a tank unit. Small amount of acid was on the duct tape holding his gloves connected to the suit and came into contact with his skin.

Followup: No

Notes: Worker treated at St. Elizabeth hospital with "minor injuries" & discharged. No letter or report filed by Motiva.


Sulfur block, Sulfur Truck Loading
Cause: Truck driver overloaded a sulfur truck, then attempted to offload the excess amount before transport; removed cap to connect hose without first ensuring that the offloading valve was closed. Molten sulfur spilled into the impervious sulfur block containment loading-areavand splashed on his PPE (personal protective equipment) suit and went down his boot, giving a 2" 2nd degree burn on his foot and ankle. No RQ's exceeded.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Driver given medical attention on-site, then sent to Our Lady of the Lake hospital, treated & released. Spill cleaned from containment area.
Molten Sulfur: 1,800.0 pounds

HTU-2 Low Pressure Offgas Absorber
Cause: On May 18, 2012, the 500 pound reportable quantity for sulfur dioxide was exceeded at Motiva Enterprises Convent Refinery in St. James Parish. Hydrogen sulfide was also released during this event. The incident occurred at Motiva's Convent Refinery on May 18, 2012 at approximately 2:59am and ended at approximately 4:02am. On the morning of May 18, 2012, the HTU-2 Unit was in the process of starting up, when H2S containing hydrocarbons entered the unit's low pressure fuel gas drum. The H2S containing hydrocarbons were then combusted in the West Side Refinery Fuel Gas combustion devices causing exceeedances of the SO2 RQ and maximum pounds per hour permit limits. No information is provided in addition to defining the causal factors of this incident human error.

Followup: No

Notes: This incident occurred on May 18, 2012. LABB could not locate the initial 7-day report required by law documenting this accident on EDMS. The only available report was the belated "60-day follow up report" dated March 19, 2013 (approximately 11 months after the accident). Immediately after the incident, operators initiated procedure GP058-Identifying the Source of H2S in Plant Fuel Gas to determine the source sending H2S containing hydrocarbon to the low pressure west fuel gas drum. This procedure requires operations personnel to conduct Sensidyne Sampling for H2S at potentially culpable sources. Additionally, amine circulation was immediately increased in all H2S absorber towers to cease H2S breakthrough in the event breakthrough was the cause of the event. Also at thi time, operators performed field walks on potentially affected units to identify any psv's lifting or incorrect line ups to the fuel gas system. Process engineering personnel concurrently began technical monitoring using Historian software to locate the source of the high H2S material. The sulfur dioxide emissions are reported as pounds per hour. The emissions occurred from 2:59am to 4:02am (1 hour and 3 minutes total).
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,072.8 pounds


Outfall 001
Cause: A sump at the aeration basin overflowed into the gravel area between Clarifiers 1 and 2. The treated wastewater bypassed the clarifiers to the recycle pond. From there, the treated but unclarified wastewater was discharged via Outfall 001 into the Mississippi River.

Followup: No

Notes: Upon discovery of the release, Operations began reducing the flow to the aeration basins, shutdown flow from 37T-314, and slowed flow from 37T-316 and 37T-317. Additional training has been conducted with the Operation's personnel regarding the flow management of the system. Motiva is evaluating additional engineering measures to prevent future incidents of this type.
Wastewater: 126.0 gallons
No LDEQ Reported

Dock No. 2
Cause: While in the process of loading diesel at Dock No. 2, approximately 15 gallons of product spilled to the secondary containment on the dock with approximately 2 gallons being released to the river from the secondary containment. The cause of the spill was the result of unintentionally leaving Dock Arm #3 drain valve open during the initial stages of the transfer. The dock arm inboard drain valve was lined up to the dock slop oil tank rather than being in the closed position per the loading procedure.

Followup: No

Notes: Diesel spilled on the dock was pumped back into the slop system. The diesel that fell to the grating below the dock was cleaned with absorbent pads and disposed of as oily contaminated industrial solid waste. Any diesel that reached the river was dispersed and naturally attenuated. To prevent recurrence of the incident, the penetration through the decking which allowed the diesel to reach the river will be sealed. Motiva is also evaluating a better way to manage the drain valve position and ensure the slop system operates as designed. A coaching session has been held with the dock operator and the importance of following procedures has been emphasized.
Diesel Fuel: 15.0 gallons

junction box
Cause: After a heavy rainstorm, approximately 24 barrels of oil from the process sewer was reported in the clean stormwater ditch along the north side of Avenue B, and approximately 3 barrels of oil to the ground from a nearby sewer hub southwest of Tank 20D-36. It was discovered that the block valves on the sewer junction box south of Avenue C East and Alabama Street were inadvertently left open. This junction box controls drainage from the tank farm and can be lined up to to go either the process sewer system or clean stormwater. The primary lineup is to have all valves closed except after rainfall events. It appears the clean stormwater block valve was left open from a previous rain event. The process sewer system swelled and filled the junction box, which then flowed into the storm ditch via the clean water side of the sewer box that had been left open.

Followup: No

Notes: The oil was contained onsite, recovered using vacuum trucks and reprocessed in the refinery's recovered oil system. Once the source of the release was identified, the block valve lineup to stormwater was immediately closed thus stopping the release. Containment boom and absorbent boom was placed at multiple locations to contain the oil that had reached the stormwater ditch. Microbe-enhanced bagasse placed after ground cleanup. To prevent recurrence: the operator accountable for the improper line-up has been coached; the Logistics Production Supervisor has reviewed this incident with the Production Team Leaders and is currently reviewing with each shift; the production supervisor has taken feedback from the shifts on how to improve verification of proper line-ups in the field; Motiva is executing a project to improve line-up visualization; and the Logistics Production Team Leads will ensure drainage junction box line-up status is accurately documented in the department end of shift reports. Most of the oil floated on the water surface in the storm ditch. Residual of oil staining remaining on the vegetation and ground surface was chopped/scraped until oil was no longer visible. Oil in contact with the ground was confined to the surface with no impact below a few inches. All oil-stained soils, PPE, and other contaminated materials were properly containerized for disposal.
Oil: 1,134.0 gallons

Train-100 heater passes on HTU-2
Cause: At approximately 15:31 on February 24, 2014, a scaffolding crew was dismantling a scaffold by Train-100 heater passes on HTU-2. The crew was using a hammer to remove a scaffolding bar. A worker swung his hammer and missed the scaffold and struck a 1/2" tubing on a flow transmitter. The tubing came out of the ferrel and nut releasing H2 and diesel-range hydrocarbons. The material released due to the tubing failure was hydrogen and diesel range hydrocarbons. In addition, elevated flaring occurred as the unit was brought down to stabilize the situation.

Followup: No

Notes: Follow-up was promised within 60 days. The unit was brought down in order to stabilize the situation and materials involved were routed to the flare.