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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Releases of Hydrogen

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

hydrocracker unit, HCU Flare (EPN #4-84)
Cause: A gasket on compressor K 1929's seal oil pot gauge glass was leaking, causing a loss of seal Oil level. Loss of level caused hydrocracker unit to trip out and require a shut down.

Followup: No

Notes: Remedial actions: Site supervisor was notified, unit was secured per procedures for shutdown. Gauge glass was inspected and it was found that the Jerguson valves did not contain ball checks; the ball checks were replaced.

Hydrocracker unit
Hydrocracker unit, HCU Flare (EPN #4-84
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


Hydrocracker Flare
Cause: An exchanger flange at the Hydrogen Unit caught fire and nitrogen was used to diffuse fire. Fire on E-11 at the hydrocracker unit--exchanger flange failure and subsequent unit depressurization to the Hydrocracker flare

Followup: Yes

Notes: A nitrogen blanket was used to diffuse fire. The hydrogen cracker was isolated and depressurized. The rest of the product in the cracker was sent to flare.
228.6 pounds

HCU Flare (EPN 4-84)
Cause: There were mechanical problems associated the recycle compressor K-2057 that resulted in using the flare to release hydrogen and nitrogen oxide compounds as well as shut down the CR-2 unit.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Troubleshooting of the mechanical problems with the recycle compressor was completed. The thrust-bearing failure was discovered and repaired. Because the compounds released did not exceed reportable quantities, operations returned to normal conditions

Cause: there was mechanical failure in the recycling hydrogen compressor K-2057 at the CR2unit. As a result of this failure a hydrogen flaring event occurred

Followup: No

Notes: there was no report on what remedial actions were taken to fix the mechanical problem associated with the recycling hydrogen compressor. It has just been noted that the event did not result in an emergency nor did the levels of the compound release exceed reportable quantities On 5/29/2009 the LDEQ reporter contacted the site supervisor at Shell Norco as a follow-up to the incident that occurred on 5/28/2009

Hydrocracker Flare (FE-301)
Cause: On 10/6/11 at 1:42 am, while preparing the unit for a planned shutdown, the 2nd stage reactors of Motiva's Hydrocracking (HCU) Unit experienced an unexpected sixty-degree temperature rise resulting in a unit trip. During the time of the event, HCU Operators were following unit shutdown procedures in preparation of an upcoming turnaround. The sudden increase in temperature on the reactor bed was caused when oil was swept out of the oil passes on furnace F-43 to the reactors. Per procedure, oil must be de-inventoried from the associated piping, the furnace outlet temperatures rose rapidly. Consequently the instrument protective function (IPF) on the reaction system was activated for high temperature, and tripped the process unit as per design. Immediately upon activation of the trip mechanism, the unit was secured and stabilized. Shortly after stabilization, HCU shutdown activities continued following all operational and safety procedures.

Followup: Yes

Notes: For some reason this report contains an incident report for a previous incident from 2010 with the incident ID:128080 from Marathon's Refinery.

Flare: EPN 3-84
Cause: A leak occurred at HIC-84, along the downstream block valves, allowing nitrogen to enter the column causing a rapid pressure increase. The distilling unit upper crude column became overpressured, and PCV-195 opened the flare to relieve pressure in the column. EPN 3-84 Flare at Shell was used because the Motiva flare was upset and the pilot light was out. Original upset occurred at Motiva DU-5 Crude Unit with a notrogen leak into the Upper Crude Column.

Followup: No

Notes: The Shell report for the motiva release was dated May 5th, 2010 instead of 2011.

Gasket (Exchanger E11B)
Cause: LDEQ states that a gasket leak occurred on an exchanger, releasing 550 lbs. of hydrogen gas per day.

Followup: No

Notes: BRQ. Leak was contained after five days. LDEQ included. No Refinery Letter.
2,750.0 pounds

F-45 outlet piping
Cause: Fire caused by a release of hydrogen to the atmosphere due to a rupture of the outlet piping of F-45, the Hydrogen Plant furnace. The failure of the outlet piping of F-45 was as a result of rapid quenching during Hurricane Isaac.

Followup: No

Notes: Operations immediately implemented an emergency shutdown in order to isolate the leak and contain the fire. The unit is down for repairs until a formal investigation can be completed to pinpoint the root cause of the piping failure. Motiva Enterprises, LLC-Norco Refinery states a preliminary follow-up report was submitted on September 12, 2012. LABB does not have access to this report at this time. No mention of any pounds or gallons.

Hydrocracker Flare (EPN 4-84)
Cause: On January 26, 2013 at 17:15 hours, the first stage of the Hydrocracking Unit (HCU) shutdown. This shutdown was due to the occurrence of a ground fault on one of the main electrical feeders to the charge pump at the first stage of the HCU. The loss of the first stage charge pump resulted in the flaring of excess hydrogen that would normally be consumed by the process. Operations was able to maintain the operation of the second stage of the HCU.

Followup: No

Notes: Final observations and calculations confirm that no permit limits and no reportable quantities (RQ's) were exceeded during this event.

charge pump, Hydrocracking Unit
Cause: Motiva's Hydrocracking Unit (HCU) flared process gas at the HCU Elevated Flare (FE 301) due to the partial shutdown of the HCU. A seal leak was discovered on the charge pump on the second stage of the HCU. Due to the location of the leak, the unit had to partially shut down to complete repairs. Flaring of hydrogen will continue intermittently to stabilize the remaining operating equipment. Flaring ceased once the charge pump was repaired and the unit returned to stable operating conditions. Flaring occurred on June 1 (367 minutes) and June 7 (1069 minutes).

Followup: Yes

Notes: After the unit was shut down and secured, maintenance and engineering investigated and identified that a seal failure occurred. A repair plan was promptly developed and executed. Due to this incident being a repeat issue in a short period of time, Motiva chartered a full investigation. Findings from this investigation resulted in the installation of additional check valves to control pressure swings and to help manage the integrity of pump seals.
66.8 pounds

Cause: On 2/27/2014, an unexpected leak occured on Motiva's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) second cyclone dip leg. Due to the location of the leak, the catalyst leak cound not be safely repaired while the unit was fully operations. A partial shutdown of the RCCU was conducted to stop the leak and complete repairs. While the unit was partially shut down, flaring occured intermittently at the RCCU Elevated Flare (EPN FE201) to safely stabilize equipment that was still operational. During the start up of RCCU, untreated dry gas was flared at the GO1 Elevated Flare.

Followup: Yes

Notes: To minimize additional unit upset and to safely repair the catalyst leak , the RCCU Unit was partially shut down in a safe manner. The catalyst leak was stopped and the second cyclone dip leg was repaired. The original report and the first follow up report included in the event description that untreated dry gas was flared at the GO1 Elevated Flare during the start-up of RCCU. This was not included in the final follow up report. Additionally, two follow up reports were sent by Motiva, the first dated 4/24/2014 to provide a 60 day follow up. In this correspondence it is stated that they will provide a second update within 60 days, as data gathering and investigation was ongoing. The final follow up report was received on 6/24/2014.
No information given