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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Releases of Propane

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

FLARE: HCU relief valve(RV-1191); flow control valve (FC-0735); HCU Flare (4-84)
Cause: LDEQ report states that a release of propylene and propane due to an upset in the hydrocracker unit. The facility reported that a relief valve relieved to flare for approximately one minute.

Followup: Yes

Notes: BRQ. HCU relief valve was repaired and put back in service. No reportable quantities were exceeded as a result of this release.

HCU absorber surge drum PV-829
HCU oil absorber surge drum PV-829
Cause: Operator on rounds discovered stain on nozzle bottle of vessel of hydrocracking unit. Plug missing, visible vapors, and there is a quarter inch hole leaking.

Followup: No

Notes: BRQ. Refinery letter states that "final calculations confirm that no reportable quantities were exceeded." Steam lanced the leak initially, then got advice from piping inspectors for leak repair. Repaired with nipple and isolation valve with cap.

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.
6.3 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.

Six inch fuel gas line
Cause: On October 12, 2012 at approximately 13:04 hours, a leak was discovered on a six inch fuel gas line located in a pipe rack near the CUS blend drum. The leak resulted in a release of Isobutane and Propane from the process gas piping. The leak was caused by internal corrosion.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Immediately upon discovery of the leak, Motiva operation responded by isolating the six inch fuel gas piping at both ends. Additionally, this section of piping was despressured and taken out of service to stop the leak. The line was then prepared for maintenance inspection. The leak was caused by internal corrosion, and x-ray results revealed pitting at the leak point. On October 16, 2012 Motiva installed an engineered box over the leak point to permanently repair the piping. No mention of any pounds or gallons.

An Alky six-inch pipeline on the north side of OP-1 process gas compressor
Cause: The leak was caused by internal corrosion, and x-ray results revealed pitting at the leak point. 6 inch pipeline on northside of OP-1 process gas compressor PGC.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Upon discovery of the leak, the refinery isolated the six-inch fuel gas piping at both ends. The problematic section of piping was also depressured and taken out of service to stop the leak. The line was prepared for maintenance inspection, from which the cause--internal corrosion--was discovered. On January 27, 2012, the refinery installed an engineered box over the leak point to permanently repair the piping.

Propane pipeline
Cause: On March 25, 2013 at 1830 hours operations personnel in Logistics discovered a liquefied propane gas leak. Immediately after discovery the pipeline was depressured and isolated to stop the leak. Upon investigation, the source of the leak was determined to be a failed piece of piping at the discharge of a relief valve on the propane pipeline.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Immediately after discovery, the pipeline was depressured and isolated to stop the leak. The leaking piping system was reviewed by Pressure Equipment Inspections (PEI) and repair recommendations provided. The short term repairs have been implemented. To prevent reoccurrence, the plan is to increase monitoring of this piping system. Upgrades to the piping system to meet engineering standards will be addressed in the future.
1,542.0 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.
46.7 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.
58.7 pounds

Elevated Flare (FE-201)
Cause: Motiva's RCCU Unit had a relief Valve (RV) on its Debutanizer Column lift and relieve to atmosphere. The RV lifted as its designed pressure setting after a pressure transmitter failed in the unit causing a pressure control valve to fail into closed position. Once this valve did not move to open position, the pressure within the Debutanizer Column built up and over pressured causing the RV to relieve as designed. To help relieve the pressure in the debutanizer column and to stop the RV from relieving the material was routed to the flare. Isobutane, Isobutene, N-Butane, Propane, and Propylene were potentially released from Motiva's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit's (RCCU) Elevated Flare (FE-201).

Followup: No

Notes: Data gathering to perform calculations and investigation are ongoing. Shell will provide and update within 60 days as required by LAC 33:1:3925.A.3.

1300# steam system at Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit
Cause: "Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit's Elevated Flare as a result of a swing in the steam system." "Motiva's RCCU unit flared processed gas due to a swing in the 1300# steam system"

Followup: No

Notes: The report filed on 1/13/14 indicated that Shell will release an updated report within 60 days as of 9/5/14 the report has yet to be made.