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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Releases of Isopentane

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

DU-5 Naptha Stripper Reboiler [E-1004]
Cause: A leak in the weld of a pipping elbow of the DU-5 Naptha Stripper Reboiler caused by internal corrosion on the reboiler.

Followup: Yes

Notes: RQ. Reportable quantities were exceeded for 8 chemicals including Ethane, Methane, Toulene, and n-Hexane. Refinery report states that "immediately following discovery of the leak, the site's emergency response team was activated and the naphtha stripper was blocked in and depressurized."
8.6 pounds

Coker Flare FE-401
Cause: While starting the Coker Jet Pump on 9/29/11 at 6:45pm, the electrical breaker at Motiva's Coking Unit tripped de-energizing the Motor Control Center. Consequently, the Coker Wet Gas Compressor tripped offline therefore resulting in unit flaring and operating in hot circulation mode. Hot circulation mode is an operating mode in which the unit recycles feed at high temperatures. This mode of operation lessens the amount of flaring in comparison to a complete unit shutdown. The initial inspection of the Jet Pump revealed that the auto-transformer serving as a soft start for this pump had failed causing the electrical breaker to trip open. Once repairs were completed, the Coker Unit was safely re-started and flaring stopped.

Followup: No

Notes: Immediately, Operations placed the furnace F-125 in hot steam standby and brought the Coker Unit into hot circulation mode to prevent additional flaring of non treated gas. Norco maintenance personnel were called out to troubleshoot the trip of the Coker Wet Gas Compressor and related equipment. The auto-transformer was removed from the circuit. Relay coordination was modified in order to protect the new circuit. After troubleshooting, maintenance personnel determined that operations could safely re-start the Coker Process Unit. During this time the Coker Wet Gas Compressor was restarted and flaring stopped. By 12/31/11 a study will be completed to determine whether the auto-transformer can be permanently removed from the system. After this study is completed, a strategy will be created to address the required changes. This action will be completed by 3/31/12. Calculations confirm that the reportable quantity for sulfur dioxide was exceeded as well as the permitted maximum pound per hour emission limits for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, VOC's, 1,3 butadiene, and benzene as a result of the release.
1.0 pounds

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.

Hose from the frac tank
Cause: At 10:01 on October 9, 2012 Motiva Site Supervisor received a call of an odor around the SBA area. After responding to the issue, it was discovered that the odor was coming from the VAT sump. A contractor was in the process of removing material from one of the four frac tanks that were staged in preparation for Hurricane Issac to collect excess oil and water during the storm. During the storm material containing high benzene was mistakenly put into the frac tank. When the contractor disconnected the hose from the frac tank that was labeled oil and water, the material remaining in the hose spilled onto the pavement. The contractor attempted to wash the area, which in turn washed the material into the VAT collection sump.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Industrial Hygiene (IH) and ERT were contacted due to an odor in the area and high levels of benzene were detected. The area were secured and under fresh air, clean up efforts were immediately implemented. To prevent any further release of hydrocarbons, the VAT collection sump was immediately blocked in and the material was pumped into a frac tank. The VAT collection sump was water washed, pumped to a frac tank and cleaned. Air testing was performed and the benzene levels were below the limit. Liquids were recovered and returned to the frac tank. No soils were contaminated. Material that evaporated during the release and recovery operation was released to atmosphere and dispersed naturally. The following requirements were adopted to prevent reoccurence: A MSDS is required before any material can be removed by contractors; Procedures have been updated and include a tracking sheet for all loads. Motiva has no current knowledge of pollution migration as free product was contained to the VAT collection sump and recovered to a frac tank. Motiva exceeded the reportable quantity for benzene.
0.6 pounds

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.
23.8 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.
16.4 pounds