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Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

Causal Factor: Piping or Tubing

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

Pump 5016B
Cause: On 12/9/12, Shell Chemical OL-5 operations discovered a pressure gauge on the piping of Pump 5016B in the OL-5 Process Unit leaking hydrocarbon. Operations personnel immediately isolated the pressure gauge to stop the leak.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations personnel immediately isolated the pressure gauge to stop the leak. Operations also isolated the storm drain to contain the spilled material. A pumper truck was called to remove the liquid. The pressure gauge was replaced before the pump was returned to service. No materials were released above the RQ.


F-131 in the GO-1 Process Unit
Cause: The GO-1 operators discovered a leak in a tube in furnace F-131 in the GO-1 Process Unit. The leak released benzene and unburned hydrocarbons from the tube to the atmosphere in the GO-1 Process Unit. The leak caused smoking for 15 minutes.

Followup: No

Notes: GO-1 operators immediately stopped the flow of process gas to the furnace and began to steam purge the tube to prepare the furnace for repairs. The furnace was safely brought down to complete repairs. The furnace will remain down until repairs are completed.


pump in GO-1 process unit
Cause: On December 22, 2013, GO-1 discovered a pump leak in the process unit. A hole developed on the bypass line around the valve adjacent to the pump.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The pump was isolated to repair the bypass line. The spill was contained and the area was cleaned up.


No Information Given
Cause: On July 18, operations personnel in Logistics discovered a temporary clamp on a 1,3 Butadiene line was leaking.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Immediately after discovery, maintenance began repairs. This incident is linked to a complaint regarding excessive flaring investigated by LDEQ. The follow up report states that no reportable quantities were exceeded, and no additional information was provided.


OL-5 Exchange Unit E1970
WWTP system
Cause: On June 1, a release of Benzene, Naphthalene, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and Volatile Organic Compounds occurred. The release was due to an unexpected leak on an OL-5 process unit 20lb Steam Regenerator Exchanger. The Norco Site Supervisor was notified by a st. Charles DEP deputy of an odor detected along highway 61. The leaking steam condensate entrained with CLGO (cracked light gas oil) hydrocarbon entered the storm water drain and the refinery conveyance system.

Followup: Yes

Notes: At the time of the LDEQ verbal notification, in house monitoring levels of Benzene were 5.0 ppm. The material was removed from the storm water drains and conveyance systems and disposed of properly. Mr. White stated the product was being routed to an oily/water separator, thence to their WWTP system for treatment. They were "slabbing" the condensate as of approximately 1415 hours. Gas oil release is now ongoing and is going to effluent system and being picked up at their separator. The material was reported to have gone offsite - released to the air. Inside the facility air monitoring was between 6-10 ppm. There was no offsite protective action. The 24 hour update states the exchanger 1970 was taken off line which is what was leaking. Have contractors picking up the oil out of the F1 system.


1-90 (GO-1 Elevated Flare, FE-602)
5-84 (West Ops Elevated Flare, FE-601)
8-84 RCCU Elevated Flare (FE-201)
Cause: On May 10, Motiva's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) discovered a catalyst leak in the unit's second cyclone dip leg. Operations responded immediately and worked to isolate this section of the unit. However, due to the location of the leak it was determined the line could not be isolated without diverting the RCCU process unit to hot circulation. The diverting process required flaring at the GO-1 Elevated flare (EPN 1-90) and West Ops Ground Flare (EPN 9-84). Additional flaring occurred at the Motiva RCCU Elevated Flare (EPN 8-84). Emissions from that flare should be addressed in a separate letter from Motiva. The reintroduction of Motiva's RCCU untreated dry gas resulted in the shell GO-1 unit flaring to the West Ops Elevated Flare.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Once system was secured, Motiva's maintenance personnel began repairs at the catalyst leak point. By May 12, the repairs on the system were completed and the system was returned to service. The diversion and reintroduction of RCCU Untreated Dry Gas caused the Shell GO-1 unit to flare to the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90) until unit specifications were met. This flaring exceeded reportable quantities.
Carbon Monoxide: 8,987.4 pounds
NOx: 1,651.7 pounds
Particulate Matter: 310.9 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 645.9 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 4,441.4 pounds
Carbon Monoxide: 31.8 pounds
NOx: 5.8 pounds
Particulate Matter: 1.1 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 157.2 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 9.3 pounds
Hexane: 0.7 pounds
Carbon Monoxide: 1,816.5 pounds
NOx: 333.8 pounds
Particulate Matter: 62.8 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 10,547.3 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 517.3 pounds
Butadiene: 7.2 pounds
Benzene: 1.5 pounds
Toluene: 0.1 pounds
Hexane: 45.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Furnace piping
Cause: On May 6, an employee of the neighboring facility called and reported to Shell that an odor was identified in the area of the north east side of the site around the OL-5 unit area by the fence line roadway. Shell investigated and found a hole in a furnace piping going to the process water drain. Residual cracked heavy gas oil was found in the furnace piping.

Followup: No

Notes: Operations personnel pressured out residual oil with steam and odor was eliminated.


OL-5 Unit
Cause: The Shell Chemical OL-5 Unit has two pyrofrac bottoms filters. A leak in two-inch piping adjacent to one of the two pyrofrac bottoms filter caused a spill of materials. The second filter was out of service for maintenance at the time of the leak.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations immediately completed maintenance on the out-of-service filter and returned it back to service in order to shutdown the pyrofrac bottoms filter that was adjacent to the leak. The leak stopped once this filter was taken out of service.