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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Causal Factor: Human Factors

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

Temporary tank
Cause: On 9/25/05, approximately 3 barrels of slop oil were released when a temporary tank was overfilled. The overfill occurred when an alternate route to the temporary tank remained open during the fill-up process.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The spill was contained using sand dikes. Vacuum trucks and soil remediation were utilized for clean-up.
Slop Oil: 126.0 gallons

Tank A-410 (EPN 1021-95)
Cause: DU5 was starting up and the HGO routing to A-410 was changed from off-spec to the HGO treaters. During this time the bypass valve was left in the open position causing heavy gas oil to overflow from tank A-410 into the tank dike area.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Remedial actions: Operator immediately closed bypass to LCV-100. Flow to A-410 was stopped and level pumped down. Liquid in tank dike was removed via vacuum truck. Soil excavation was conducted. To prevent recurrence, Motiva plans to develop plans to improve level control scheme and alarm management. They also plan to install a concrete liner inside the tank's secondary containment dike. PDF includes soil analytical data for soil samples tested for extractable petroleum hydrocarbons (EPH).
Heavy Gas Oil: 7,405.0 gallons
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 699.9 pounds
Naphthalene: 4.0 pounds


Hydrocracker, Coker, CR-1 and NHT units
Cause: The Coker, Hydrocrack, and CR-1 process units unexpectedly shut down due to a loss of 100# instrument air. The instrument air block valve on the line supplying the Coker, Hydrocracker, and CR-1 was mistakenly closed. An operator was instructed to close the 2" soft water valve for maintenance and operator mistakenly identified the 2" 100# instrument air valve as the 2" soft water valve.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Remedial actions involved shutting down the affected operating units; found that Sulfur Dioxide levels were exceeded from the HCU flare and Volatile Organic Compounds exceeded at the Coker Flare.
Sulfur Dioxide: 296.2 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 1,303.7 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Slop Oil sump (W-427)
Cause: Power switch to high-level alaram and pump for W-247 were in "off" position while draining material from wharf's loading arm to sump, causing sump to overflow.

Followup: Yes

Notes: This is the follow up to the verbal notification on 04/14/05. Operator immediately restored power to W-427 pump, beginning drainage of sump into the slop oil header. Operations then activated the Site Oil Spill Team and OSRO Contractor ES&H to contain the material that was released into the Mississippi River. Oil booms and absorbant pads were used to recover the released Oily material; no remedial actions specified
Oil: 20.0 gallons

RCCU Flare (EPN 8-84) and GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
Cause: Motiva's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) experienced a shutdown, causing the Main Fractionator overheads and Debutanizer overheads to be vented to the RCCU Flare (EPN 8-84) and the Shell Chemical GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPON 1-90). In addition, a release of propylene and butylene was generated from a RCCU atmospheric relief valve (RV-7205). Prior to the release on April 15, 2006, the RCCU experienced an unanticipated loss of level control in the Reactor Stripper vessel. At this point, operations had to place the stripper level control system in manual in an unsuccessful attempt to pro-actively control the level. Consequently, operating personnel were unable to fully determine and correct the root cause for the process upset, thus the decision was made to shut the RCCU down in order to safely stabilize the unit conditions. Operations utilized the Instrument Protective Function J-1 to safely divert feed from the unit and completed the shutdown per existing RCCU procedures.

Followup: No

Notes: Immediate corrective actions: The Wet Gas Compressor was kept running in recycle mode to minimize start-up flaring; the Main Air Blower was left running after the unit tripped; the duration of time the unit tripped and the time feed was introduced to the unit was kept relatively short; startup was performed per existing unit procedures. Motiva stated remedial actions as follows: Research modifications to the Reactor Stripper Vessel to improve stability of the catalyst flow in the Catalyst Standpipe; inspect the burp tube on the Catalyst standpipe; repair local flow indicators on the fluidization steam nozzles at the CS; develop a hot stand-by procedure for quick acquisition to understand the unit's status in terms of being ready for a unit restart. Flaring was not continuous throughout start and end dates.
Sulfur Dioxide: 4,418.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 1,093.0 pounds
Carbon Monoxide: 6,236.0 pounds
Particulate Matter: 216.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 7,291.0 pounds

Unspecified light olefin line
Cause: An open bleeder valve was discovered during the commissioning of a 6" light olefin line, resulting in hydrocarbons escaping to the soil.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations closed the bleeder valve and notified the Site Supervisor. Vacuum trucks were deployed and contaminated soils were removed. The findings of the investigation were dispersed throughout operations via shift meetings and operational procedures were reviewed. The operator found to be at fault was individually met with and reprimanded by business area management.
Oil: 126.0 gallons
Benzene: 0.0 pounds
Flammable Gas: 7.4 pounds

Propane tank truck rack
Cause: Upon investigation it was determined that a truck driver failed to close the loading and flare valve after loading the Motiva propane tank truck rack. By failing to close the valves a mercaptan gaseous compound mixture was released.

Followup: Yes

Notes: After driver realized the vent valve on the Motiva propane truck tank was left open, it was immediately closed. After sampling analysis was done, it was determined that the amount of mercaptan released did not exceed reportable quantities or permit limits. In the incident report there are two different state police incident numbers reported. On the refinery report the state police case number is 09-06612, whereas for the LDEQ incident report the number is s09-3932


FLARE: HCU elevated flare (EPN 4-84)
Cause: The HCU elevated flare (EPN 4-84) released Benzene, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, toluene, and VOC due to a faulty regulator and an orifice tee which was incorrectly installed by the manufacturer and also a faulty nitrogen regulator supplying the system. SECONDARY CAUSE: noted as equipment failure. FLARE.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ. Refinery later states that reportable quantities were exceeded for benzene. Both the relief valve and the nitrogen regulator were removed from service and repaired. When repaired, they were reinstalled and returned to service.
Benzene: 0.3 pounds


truck-mounted fire monitor
Cause: Firewater discharged over northern property boundary during emergency response training, bypassing wastewater treatment system. Stream was not aimed properly.

Followup: No

Notes: Stream adjusted so that it would flow into wastewater treatment system.
Firewater: 1,000.0 gallons

Hose from the frac tank
Cause: At 10:01 on October 9, 2012 Motiva Site Supervisor received a call of an odor around the SBA area. After responding to the issue, it was discovered that the odor was coming from the VAT sump. A contractor was in the process of removing material from one of the four frac tanks that were staged in preparation for Hurricane Issac to collect excess oil and water during the storm. During the storm material containing high benzene was mistakenly put into the frac tank. When the contractor disconnected the hose from the frac tank that was labeled oil and water, the material remaining in the hose spilled onto the pavement. The contractor attempted to wash the area, which in turn washed the material into the VAT collection sump.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Industrial Hygiene (IH) and ERT were contacted due to an odor in the area and high levels of benzene were detected. The area were secured and under fresh air, clean up efforts were immediately implemented. To prevent any further release of hydrocarbons, the VAT collection sump was immediately blocked in and the material was pumped into a frac tank. The VAT collection sump was water washed, pumped to a frac tank and cleaned. Air testing was performed and the benzene levels were below the limit. Liquids were recovered and returned to the frac tank. No soils were contaminated. Material that evaporated during the release and recovery operation was released to atmosphere and dispersed naturally. The following requirements were adopted to prevent reoccurence: A MSDS is required before any material can be removed by contractors; Procedures have been updated and include a tracking sheet for all loads. Motiva has no current knowledge of pollution migration as free product was contained to the VAT collection sump and recovered to a frac tank. Motiva exceeded the reportable quantity for benzene.
Benzene: 21.1 pounds
Ethylbenzene: 0.1 pounds
m-Xylene: 0.3 pounds
Isoprene: 0.2 pounds
p-Xylene: 0.1 pounds
Isopentane: 0.6 pounds
n-Pentane: 0.8 pounds
1-t-3-Pentadiene: 0.5 pounds
2-Methylpentane: 1.2 pounds
3-Methylpentane: 0.9 pounds
n-Hexane: 1.3 pounds
2-Methylhexane: 0.6 pounds
3-Methylhexane: 0.6 pounds
Toluene + 2,3,3-trimethylpentane: 2.3 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 13.9 pounds

Pressure vessel PV-122
Cause: The pressure vessel PV-122 was inadvertently overfilled during refilling, and liquid was released from the vent on top of the pressure vessel.

Followup: Yes

Notes: All material released was contained within the concrete containment dike. Once the release was realized, flow to the vessel was isolated, the inlet valve on the pressure vessel was closed, and the area was secured. A pumper truck was staged at the pressure vessel to remove the hydrocarbons from the containment area. Once all liquid hydrocarbons had been removed from the containment area, the area was washed with water to a pumper truck to remove residual hydrocarbons.