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Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

Causal Factor: Seal or Gasket

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

Furnace in the OL-5 Process Unit
Cause: On May 9, 2012 Shell Chemicals OL-5 Process Unit experienced a small fire during restart of a furnace. After feed to the furnace was established as part of furnace start up, a gasket on the 42" feed line failed. Hydrocarbon vapors from the leaking gasket were then ignited.

Followup: No

Notes: The valve providing feed to the furnace was closed and the fire was extinguished. Upon further investigation of the gasket failure it was discovered that recommended maintenance practices for installation of these type gaskets was not followed during this installation. After inspection it was also believed that the nuts and bolts used were worn and may have reached the end of their useful life. New quality control procedures are being put in place to ensure that the proper installation is used in future installation of this type gasket. It was also recommended that the nuts and bolts be replaced during the repair work on the flange and that closer inspections of the nuts and bolts be done during future repairs. LABB was only able to find the final follow-up; there was no facility letter. Shell estimates that there was a leakage of approximately 200lbs of quench oil which is broken down in the pollutants.
Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons: 24.8 pounds

Sulfides: 0.5 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 179.6 pounds
2-methylnaphthalene: 3.6 pounds
Naphthalene: 1.2 pounds
1-methylnaphthalene: 3.3 pounds