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Motiva Enterprises (2719), Convent

Releases of Flammable Gas

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

Alkylation Unit
Cause: Leak in the piping downstream of a static mixer near the depropanizer in the alkylation unit. Caustic is injected upstream of the static mixer to neutralize sulfuric acid in the static mixer. There is a bypass line for bypassing the mixer. Since the bypass line was not being used at the time of the incident, caustic was not being injected directly into the bypass line. A small amount of sulfuric acid leaked through a closed valve and accumulated in a dead leg in the bypass line. Over time, the material in the dead leg thinned until it failed, causing the leak.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Telephone report indicated both flammable gas and sulfuric acid mist were being released, but after investigation determined that release point was downstream of a static mixer, where caustic is used to neutralize any residual sulfuric acid in the process. Air monitoring around the hot spot were zero. Installed a clamp on the leak to completely stop it. Installed blinds and removed equipment to isolate the leaking line. Reevaluating inspection programs based on lessons learned from this incident. Motiva determined that the bypass line is not necessary and has removed most of this bypass line
2,758.0 pounds

MTBE tank #1
Cause: Had trouble with pumps while trying to empty & clean MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) Tank No. 1. Roof was off float, creating emissions from "breathing losses." Exceeded hourly emission limits but not RQ for 24hr period. Ongoing for a few days but not clear exactly how long. Had to get temporary variance permit to deal with it--granted on 6/9/06. No LDEQ report in this file--hazmat and two letters.

Followup: Yes

Notes: "Mechanical problems are currently preventing Motiva from bringing the tank back on float. Motiva will bring the tank back on float after necessary maintenance work is completed."

No Information Given
Cause: "Hole in a process line in a crude unit." Flammable gas noted but no info given as to what chemicals were released.

Followup: No

Notes: No information given regarding remedial actions. State Police Hazmat report only. No LDEQ or refinery report in file.
1,000.0 pounds

Flare 4
Cause: The flammable gas is not being combusted because the flare pilot has been extinguished... Attempting to relight the pilot... As soon as they do they do they will call back... Product is still releasing... They have put the flare back into the recovery system to minimize the amount of H2S released... It is being managed and is under control... They will call back once the pilot is back on... Flare pilot outage on Flare 4

Followup: No

Notes: On the SPOC report, 300 lbs of Hydrogen sulfide was initially reported as being released; in their 7 day letter they reported that they didn't exceed the Reportable quantity of 100 lbs for hydrogen sulfide. The incident was initially reported as a potential exceedance of the 5000-lb Reportable Quanity (RQ) for flammable gas and the 100-lb Reportable Quantity (RQ) hydrogen sulfide (H2S). However, after further calculation, the total flammable gas emissions from this incident were not above the reportable Quantity. Additionally, the total hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions did not exceed the reportable quantity.

uncompressed seal purge
Cause: There was a leak from an uncompressed seal purge by the VPS-1 Unit.

Followup: No

Notes: They shut down and secured the unit. The incident was initially reported as an excess of the 1000 lb, RQ for compressed flammable gases. Further evaluation determined that the leak originated from an uncompressed seal purge and not the process stream.