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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Causal Factor: Other - See text

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

Ship Keystone Texas
Cause: Source of black material was the ship "Keystone Texas" leaving the Motiva dock while releasing a large amount of smoke out of its boilers during initial power build-up. This black soot settled over Norco. The source of the material was not Shell or Motiva.

Followup: No

Notes: Citizen complaint of a black oily particulate being released into the air.


Hydrocracker unit, HCU Flare (EPN #4-84
Hydrocracker unit
Cause: This incident is a normal part of a turnaround. Before the Hydrocracker can be worked on, it must be cleared of hydrocarbon. This is done by venting the unit to the flare and later to the atmosphere. This venting is considered a normal but infrequent part of plant operation.

Followup: Yes



West Ops Ground Flare (EPN# 9-84)
Cause: Operational issues at the Marathon Refinery caused them to send off-specification dry gas, high in hydrogen sulfide, to Shell Chemical's GO-1 Process Unit.

Followup: No

Notes: Flaring was not continuous throughout the start and end dates. A portion of the off specification dry-gas from the Marathon Refinery was flared at the Motiva West Operations Ground Flare to prevent contamination of downstream catalysts and an operational at GO-1 with potential for subsequent flaring. The West Ops Ground Flare is owned and operated by Motiva Enterprises, LLC. SCOGI Louisiana Holdings LLC and Shell Chemicals LP are the owner and operator, respectively, of the GO-1 Process Unit. Marathon is the supplier of dry gas to Shell Chemical.
Carbon Monoxide: 233.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 43.0 pounds
Particulate Matter: 8.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 11.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 15.0 pounds



Cause: Small pile of hay bales located at facility's landfill caught on fire.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Motiva firefighters extinguished fire within 30 minutes. No landfill equipment was affected.


Cause: Refinery letter states that "the main air blower for Motiva's RCCU unit tripped unexpectedly which..resulted in an emergency shut down of the RCCU and RGHT units." Upon start up of RCCU, it is suspected the RCCU flare pilot was unlit causing release to air of Ethylene, Propylene, 1,3=Butadiene, VOC, Flammable Gas, HRVOC. HEAVY FLARING ALSO OCCURRED AT SHELL CHEMICAL LP but will be included in a separate report (GO-1 flare). Follow-up report states that "Motiva WAS NOT ABLE TO DETERMINE THE ULTIMATE CAUSE of the loss of the pilot flame, but that gas pressure being set above the design pressure or severe weather conditions may have contributed to the loss of pilot flame. FLARE.

Followup: Yes

Notes: RQ. Reportable quantities were exceeded during this incident. "All released materials were dispersed naturally in the atmosphere from the RCCU flare stack." Release was stopped by the re-lighting of the flare. Also flare pilot flame-out alarm was placed back into service and refresher training provided to all operations personnel on the importance of maintaining flare pilot flames. LDEQ report states that according to "LDEQ Enforcement Division, this incident is being included in an Enforcement Action being drafted by the LDEQ Enforcement Division."
Ethylene: 1,417.3 pounds
Propylene: 10,351.4 pounds
1,3-Butadiene: 77.6 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 42,527.9 pounds
Flammable Gas: 33,872.9 pounds
Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds (HRVOCs): 11,768.7 pounds

Train Car
Cause: A tank that was carrying butadiene was derailed on the facility grounds. The refinery stated that the tank car remained upright throughout the event, and that only its front two wheels derailed. No spill or damage to the car occurred as a result of the event.

Followup: No

Notes: The refinery called Hulcher Services, Inc., to place the car back on the tracks. The railcar was successfully placed back onto the tracks after being derailed for 4 hours and 26 minutes.