Home Search Emissions Pollutants About the Database

Valero (1238), Meraux

Causal Factor: Process Upset

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

South Flare - EPN # 3 - 77
Cause: Fluctuating acid gas rates from steam system

Followup: No

Notes: Turned down the system and got the flow to where it should be.
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,535.0 pounds

South Flare - EPN # 3 - 77
Cause: Solids in the #2 SWS Overhead Receiver plugged the vessel's suction line

Followup: No

Notes: They steamed the lines to clear them.
Sulfur Dioxide: 12,069.0 pounds


None Reported
Cause: Sudden surge in liquids in the DHT overhead receiver

Followup: No

Notes: Drained the liquids and re started the unit. There seem to be two state id #'s for this one, too. The other is 05-01485

North Flare 20-72
Cause: Hydorbarbon breakthrough from the Amine Unit to the SRU due to plugging in the Tail Gas Treater (TGT)

Followup: No

Notes: Replaced packing and a valve in the Tail Gas Treater

Sulfur Dioxide: 38,367.0 pounds

South Flare - EPN # 3 - 77
No information given
Cause: Surge of acid gas feed during hydrocracker startup

Followup: No

Notes: There is no reason given for the hydrobracker startup. Two incidents were reported in one letter.
Sulfur Dioxide: 37,752.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 12,064.0 pounds

Malfunction at the offsite vendor facility which provides hydrogen to Murphy. (Could this be Air Products - see incidents # 93737, 98860, 99344, 99713)
Cause: On 10/28/2007, MOUSA conducted an emergency shut down of the #3 SRU after being forces to shut down the Hydrocracker (its source of acid gas) following a malfunction at the office vendor facility which provides hydrogen to MOUSA. There was no malfunction or human error on the part of Murphy. On 10/30/2007, MOUSA stared the #3 SRU back up following the above mentioned shutdown

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: This incident was not preventable because the shutdown of the hydrocracker and subsequent shutdown of the #3 SRU were the result of a malfunction at our offsite hydrogen vendor. BUT, the report says that yes, MOUSA could have attempted a startup without a bypass of the #3 TGT, but that MOUSA opted to use the safer TGT startup procedure of bypassing the TGT in order to better control Reactor Bed temperatures, which was more protective of personnel and equipment. The more aggressive startup optiif it had resulted in another exothermic reaction, could have damaged equipment and resulted in prolonged bypass of the #3 TGT, resulting in significantly greater sulfur dioxide emissions. Remedial Measures - MOUSA suspects that excess oxygen upset t
Sulfur Dioxide: 30.0 pounds

FLARE - Malfunction of Air Products Gas Oxygen Compressor / North Flare
Cause: a release to the North Flare in which process safety valve intermittently relieved pressure from the Area 6 Rich Amine Flash Drum. The unit was upset due to low hydrogen purity from Air Products due to a malfunction of their Gas/Oxygen Compressor.

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: In Murphy's report, they acknowledges that the Area 6 Rich Amine Flash Drum has been involved in two recent events - 8/23 and 9/10 but that improved monitoring systems have enabled MOUSA to more accurately estimated emissions. NOTE - the LDEQ report, which was made my Murphy, states that a hydrogen supply problem to the refinery and an faulty flow meter (which was replaced) were the causes of the release
Sulfur Dioxide: 25.0 pounds

Compressor at the Platformer
Cause: The compressor at the Platformer shut down for about 10 min.. And sent clean hydro-treated hydrocarbon to the flare.

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: There is no corresponding report from Murphy. In the LDEQ report, this event is described as a noise event. It states that there was smoke and noise but the combustion of the vented hydrocarbon was essentially total. According to the report, Platformer feed is very pure and all sulfur and nitrogen has been removed so these materials are not released when that hydrocarbon stream is directed to the flare. The noise came from the steam that allows this steam to burn smokeless. The complaint was cd in about seven min. into the event. NOTE - there is no information regarding why the compressor as the Platformer shut down in the first place?


FLARE - #3 TGT Bypass
Cause: This shutdown and the subsequent release can be attributed to a process upset. The incident occurred as MOUSA was troubleshooting deviant values in the air demand ratio as part of an effort to proactively diagnose potential problems in the unit. As MOUSA took a flow indicator offline to examine it, the air-to-fuel ratio drifted off-specification, triggering a safety shutdown of the unit on loss of flame in the TGT feed heater

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: There was a problem with the air demand ratio controller on the #3 Tail Gas Treater. While the company was troubleshooting the problem they placed the unit on manual control. The unit then proceeded to drift off of the settings and reached a condition where the unit took an automatic safety shutdown. The shutdown could probably have been averted if the ratio drift had been anticipated so this shutdown was due to an unanticipated process upset but the next time the ratio controller has a problem theany should be able to avert a shutdown by carefully monitoring the air demand ratio. - LDEQ report. This incident is listed as being preventable but the only information in that section is that MOUSA did not anticipate this event in the development o
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,031.0 pounds

FLARE - Relief Valve on the MDH High Pressure Stripper / South Flare
Cause: on 8/3/2007, MOUSA discovered that a pressure relief valve on the MDH High Pressure Stripper was opening to the South Flare on an intermittent basi

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: This incident is listed as preventable even though the only information included in that section is that there were no mechanical failures or human error. MOUSA's report states that they suspect that ambient weather conditions (90 degrees, looping East wind at 0-5 mph) contributed to the episode, preventing typical dispersion of emissions to upper levels. Murphy received 3 citizen calls on 8/2/2007 for odor. They investigated each complaint and found transient odors consistent with trace ats of sulfur dioxide. They examined process conditions and found no upset conditions and no elevated levels of sulfur dioxide emissions from the facility - as noted by the numerous continuous emissions monitoring systems associated with heaters, boil
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,110.0 pounds

High vibration trip in the HCU Recycle Gas Compressor
Cause: the startup of the #3 Sulfur Recovery Unit was a result of a shutdown of said unit which was the result of a lack of feed after an automatic safety shutdown of the Hydrocracker (high vibration trip in the HCU Recycle Gas Compressor). The vibration in the compressor was apparently due to surging in the unit during low flow conditions.

Followup: Yes

Notes: This incident was not preventable because the erratic performance was not a predictable event. Remedial Measures - MOUSA installed mechanical stops on the spillback valves to prevent erratic performance during low flow situations. MOUSA modified its startup procedure to eliminate the TGT Bypass.
Sulfur Dioxide: 789.0 pounds

#3 SRU Incinerator (#5-00) / South Flare (#3-77)
Cause: 5/18 shutdown of the #3 SRU which was the result of a lack of feed as MOUSA reduced feed to the hydrocracker and other units following a safety shutdown in the Crude Unit. MOUSA attempted to restart and line out units in the refinery and on 5/20 the #3 SRU unit shutdown after its source of acid gas, the Hydrocracker Unit, shutdown on 5/20 because of a malfunction at the Recycle Gas Compressor (high vibration) which triggered an automatic safety shutdown of the Hydrocracker. On 5/21 #3 SRU was started up and on 5/23 the #3 SRU experienced an automatic safety shutdown which was the result of a solenoid malfunction on the SCOT bypass valve (v-509), which failed to open while lining up the Tail Gas to the SCOT Reactor, per the startp plan. The # 3

Followup: Yes

Notes: Even in the final 10/18/2007 follow up report Murphy does not explain whether the incident was preventable or not. Remedial Measures - Regarding the HCU shutdown, MOUSA installed a new probe to monitor vibration in the HCU Recycle Gas Compressor. Regarding the # 3 SRU malfunction, MOUSA has (1) replaced the solenoid on TB-NV-509, (2) modified the unit startup procedure to limit the recirculating gas rates through the startup blower just before diversion of the SRU tail gas to the Absorber Secof the Tail Gas Unit, (3) developed a Preventative Maintenance schedule to conduct inspections on the exhaust screens on critical solenoids in the #3 SRU, and (4) installed new logic to improve the coordination of the two valve actuators. Note: all
Sulfur Dioxide: 15,688.0 pounds

FLARE - HCU Recycle Gas Compressor
Cause: during a startup event there was a release of sulfur dioxide. There was a shutdown of the #3 Sulfur Recovery Unit on 2/26/2007 due to a malfunction in the HCU Recycle Gas Compressor resulting from a faulty governor on the steam turbine lube oil pump. That caused the automatic safety shutdown of the Hydrocracker.

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: This incident was not preventable because the failure of the governor was not predictable. Remedial Measures - While the governor is subject to the Preventative Maintenance program, the refinery will assemble a team to investigate possibilities fro improving the reliability of the compressor assembly
Sulfur Dioxide: 573.0 pounds

FLARE- Boiler feed water steam turbine pump
Cause: there was a trip in the boiler feed water steam turbine pump. The backup electric pump auto started as designed but before the water level in the boiler was back to normal, there was an event that released listed amount of S02 from the flare. This is considered to be a process upset

Followup: Yes

Notes: Verbal Report - There is no information as to whether this accident was preventable or not. There is no information regarding any remedial measures that have been taken in regards to this incident. Note: the LDEQ writes this concerning the flare, The flare does operate as designed and at times is noisy and smokey.
Sulfur Dioxide: 157.0 pounds

Air Products hydrogen plant
Cause: -The startup followed a shutdown of the # SRU complex on 1/28/2007, after its source of acid gas, the Hydrocracker unit, was shut down. The Hydrocracker unit, which is supplied by Air Products via pipeline. A malfunction of the Air Products hydrogen plant forced MOUSA to shut down the hydrocracker. This incident is a normal startup of a Sulfur Recovery Unit

Followup: No

Notes: This incident was not preventable because, excess emissions are a normal part of the unit startup. No human error was involved. Remedial Measures are listed as, the excess emissions are a normal part of the startup. The LDEQ incident report further explains that, The # 3 SRU was being brought on line. The process took about 6 hours. Murphy's written report to LDEQ incorrectly dated 1/12/2007 states that the startup followedhutdown of the #3 SRU complex on 1/28/2007, after a malfunction in at the Air Products Hydrogen Plant forced MOUSA to shut down the Hydrocracker
Sulfur Dioxide: 458.0 pounds

stacks from #2 FCCU
Cause: #2 FCCU had an upset in the system called FCC reversal. This involved an imbalance of pressure in the system creating yellowish smoke that was released from the stacks.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ exceeded. Secured and re-started #2 FCCU.
Hydrocarbon: 35,000.0 pounds
Catalyst Fines: 5,165.0 pounds
Particulate Matter: 1,750.0 pounds

#3 SRU Incinerator
Cause: The flame on #3 SRU Incinerator's burner went out.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ not exceeded. Burner was re-lit to resume normal operations. Cause is under investigation.
Sulfur Dioxide: 215.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 15.0 pounds

FLARE - North Flare (EPN:20-72)
Cause: A pressure relief valve opened at #2 Hijet system due to a malfunction in the #2 Hijet where a line was plugged with ammonia salts. This lead to SO2 emissions at the North Flare (EPN:20-72). FLARE.

Followup: Yes

Notes: RQ. Reportable quantities for sulfur dioxide were exceeded. Immediately the line was cleaned and #2 Hijet was restored to normal operations. A pressure transmitter was installed on the affected line to provide early detection of accumulated ammonia salts. An injection point was installed to allow flushing of the line with hot boiler feed water.
Sulfur Dioxide: 13,380.0 pounds

Pressure safety valve in Hydrocracker Unit
Cause: On 7/30/2013, SPOC received a citizen complaint of black smoke released due to flaring from Valero-Meraux. The environmental manager stated that flaring had occurred at the time of the complaint. The flaring (north flare) was a result of a mixture of primarily hydrogen and some VOC's released by a pressure safety valve on the hydrocracker unit. The flaring continued for 16 hours when processes were stabilized at the ROSE unit.

Followup: No

Notes: LDEQ took no further action