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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Releases of Propylene

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
80320

2005-07-06
Coker, HCU, West Op Ground flares
Cause: Power failures due to weather (Tropical Storm Cindy) caused various releases from Motiva sources; led to total loss of electrical instrument air compressors and the loss of several steam boilers that caused the shutdown of the HCU and RCCU process units. A voltage sag caused the Coker processor to shut down which resulted in a flaring event.

Followup: No

Notes: Motiva claims that this was not preventable because of the unforeseeable weather conditions.
2,808.0 pounds
91050

2006-10-02
Coker Flare FE-401 (EPN 2-84)
No iCoker Flare FE-401 (EPN 2-84)nformation given
Cause: Flaring resulted from the 3/4" drain line on the case of pump P-1983 breaking off while decon piping was being installed, causing the Coker Unit to be shutdown. Flushing oil was released from the pump casing to secondary containment but there was no release outside of the containment or to soil or water.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The Coker Unit was shut down and PV-901 depressured to reduce leaking while pump was isolated. Further corrective actions are being reviewed by Motiva Enterprises' legal department.
0.2 pounds
90100

2006-08-19
West Ops Ground Flare (EPN# 9-84)
Cause: Incident due to an upset at Shell Chemical's GO-1 process unit.

Followup: No

Notes: Letter states that no RQ's were exceeded. Little info given regarding cause and duration.
0
119003

2009-10-25
HCU flare EPN 4-84
Cause: There was an instrument failure on the Hydro-cracker Unit (HCU) recycle gas compressor (K-1928). Because of this instrument failure excess flaring from the HCU flare (EPN 4-84) allowed release of the following gases: propylene, VOC's , and Nitrogen Oxides. Note: there were two follow up reports provided. The first followup report on 10-29-2009 was written to respond to a verbal notification. This report stated that ongoing sampling would be conducted. The second report on 11-19-2009 was written to report findings from sampling conducted at the incident site

Followup: Yes

Notes: after the flaring incident was noticed the HCU recycle gas compressor was shutdown and repairs were done to fix the speed controller .
115263

2009-05-27
Cat Cracker debutanizer column
Cause: States that there was a problem with the Cat Cracker Debutanizer column. Propylene, butylene, Benzene, SO2, and H2S were released...there was no cause listed as to how these chemicals were released

Followup: No

Notes: There were no remedial actions listed as to how the problem was corrected with the Cat Cracker and no mention as to how the release of these chemicals were stopped. Verbal report only, no letter from the refinery.
125465

2010-08-05
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.
121839

2010-03-02
FLARE: RCCU Flare
Cause: Refinery letter states that "the main air blower for Motiva's RCCU unit tripped unexpectedly which..resulted in an emergency shut down of the RCCU and RGHT units." Upon start up of RCCU, it is suspected the RCCU flare pilot was unlit causing release to air of Ethylene, Propylene, 1,3=Butadiene, VOC, Flammable Gas, HRVOC. HEAVY FLARING ALSO OCCURRED AT SHELL CHEMICAL LP but will be included in a separate report (GO-1 flare). Follow-up report states that "Motiva WAS NOT ABLE TO DETERMINE THE ULTIMATE CAUSE of the loss of the pilot flame, but that gas pressure being set above the design pressure or severe weather conditions may have contributed to the loss of pilot flame. FLARE.

Followup: Yes

Notes: RQ. Reportable quantities were exceeded during this incident. "All released materials were dispersed naturally in the atmosphere from the RCCU flare stack." Release was stopped by the re-lighting of the flare. Also flare pilot flame-out alarm was placed back into service and refresher training provided to all operations personnel on the importance of maintaining flare pilot flames. LDEQ report states that according to "LDEQ Enforcement Division, this incident is being included in an Enforcement Action being drafted by the LDEQ Enforcement Division."
10,351.4 pounds
121572

2010-02-17
FLARE - HCU Elevated Flare [EPN4-84], Relief Valve [RV1178 & RV1204]
Cause: Loss of electrical breaker powering most of the large motors in the hydrocracking unit caused two columns to "release to atmosphere;" RV-1178 on the Rectified Absorber Column for 30secs, RV-1204 on the Caustic Water Wash column "momentarily." FLARE.

Followup: Yes

Notes: BRQ. Refinery Follow-up Letter states "final calculations confirm that no reportable quantities were exceeded as a result of this release." Breaker loss discovered & repaired, operations returned to normal.
136170

2011-12-22
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90); Ground flare (EPN 9-84)
Cause: On 12/22/11, Shell's GO-1 Process Unit experienced a unit upset. This process upset led to flaring at the Motiva's West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84). Shell Chemical operations identified the cause of the unit upset was from problems with the hydrogen purity from the Process Swing Absorption unit (PSA). Shell Chemical operations switched to refinery hydrogen and the unit was stabilized. The cause of the issues in the PSA unit is believed to be several valves that were not functioning correctly. On December 22, 2011 Shell's GO-1 Process Unit had an upset in the de-propanizer column. This incident led to flaring at the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90).

Followup: Yes

Notes: Repairs to these valves were made and the system was safely returned to normal conditions. The failure of Shell's GO-1 Process Unit's de-propanizer column caused flares to occur in both Shell Chemical Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90) and Motiva's West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84).
134290

2011-09-29
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.
15.7 pounds
133785

2011-09-02
Shell Chemical LP Utilities East Flare (EPN 3-84)
Cause: Motiva Norco experienced a malfunction and shutdown of the RCCU refrigerant chiller compressor (K-7200) resulting in a flare at the Shell Chemical LP Utilities East Flare (EPN 3-84) releasing nitrogen oxide and propylene.

Followup: No

Notes: LDEQ provided, but there was no Refinery Report included in the file. Motiva states that "final calculations confirmed no reportable quantities or permit limits were exceeded as a result of the incident".
130903

2011-04-28
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.
139564

2012-05-08
OL-5 Elevated Flare, FE-101 (EPN 6-84); OL-5 Ground Flare, FG-101 (EPN 7-84)
RCCU CO Heater and Flue Gas Scrubber (EPN 2-91)
RCCU CO Heater and Flue Gas Scrubber (EPN 2-91); OL-5 Elevated Flare, FE-101 (EPN 6-84); OL-5 Ground Flare, FG-101 (EPN 7-84)
Cause: On May 8, 2012, the Motiva Enterprise's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) was struck by lightning during a heavy rainstorm event resulting in an unforeseen shutdown of the RCCU CO Heater and Flue Gas Scrubber (EPN 2-91). Consequently, an Instrument Protective Function (IPF) associated with the CO Heater's force draft fans automatically tripped the system's main fuel gas burners to safely secure the heater as per design. Motiva operations then worked to stablize the RCCU process unit and assess the damages to the RCCU CO Heater resulting from the lightning strike. The causal analysis generated from the investigation of this incident revealed simultaneous alarms and IPF shutdowns for multiple pieces of equipment associated with the RCCU CO Heater during the time of the incident. A time stamp taken from the RCCU alarm summary noted that several pieces of equipment simultaneously shutdown at 5/8/2012 17:24:34. The pieces of equipment affected from this incident are listed below: CO Heater Forced Draft Fan Electric; CO Heater Forced Draft Fan Turbine; CO Heater Pilot Gas; RCCU Refrigeration Compressor Lube Oil; RCCU Main Air Blower Flow to Fluffing Rings; RCCU Cooling Water Pump Lube Oil Systems. The data proved that the signals initiating the multiple trips were not generated by the processes themselves, but by a non-process related influence. The investigation team determined that a bolt of lightning struck somewhere in close proximity of the junction boxes for the different pieces of equipment near the RCCU CO Heater. Consequently, this caused an inadvertent energy pulse to either stop current on the analog systems, or provide enough voltage to energize the trip signal and shutdown the equipment listed above. On May 8, 2012, Shell Chemical's OL-5 Process Unit experienced an unexpected shutdown of the OL-5 Process Gas Compressor (PGC) due to weather conditions which led to flaring at the OL-5 Elevated and Ground Flares. Weather conditions in the area caused issues in a Motiva Unit leading to a curtailment of the sites steam supply. As per site load shedding policies OL-5 was instructed to shut down the PGC which is a consumer of steam.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Motiva: The RCCU initiated a unit shutdown in a controlled manner following all operating and safety procedures in order to minimize excess emissions to the atmosphere. As part of the initial shutdown procedure, operating rates were reduced significantly leading up the unit showdown. Simultaneously, a maintenance work plan was developed and executed in a effort to re-establish normal operations of the RCCU CO Heater. At this time electrical inspectors were called in to visually inspect the associated junction boxes for this shutdown system. Additionally, enhanced monitoring of the shutdown system was performed to assure that no damage had occurred as a result of the lightning strike. Once the maintenance work was complete, the RCCU CO Heater was returned to service. Operations then worked to stabilize the CO Heater operations, and began to reverse the shutdown process following all operating and safety procedures. Motiva completed IPF checks to confirm that the instrument protective functions for this system are functioning as needed. Shell Chemical LP.-East: Furnaces in OL-5 were taken off feed after the PGC was shutdown to minimize flaring. The OL-5 process unit was secured until the steam supply was restored to normal conditions to allow for a safe restart of the PGC. In their original final report, Shell Chemical LP - East Site indicated that the permit level for benzene was exceeded; they sent a corrected final report on August 9, 2012 explaining that the permit level for benzene was not exceeded as indicated in the earlier report. As seen on first table Date/Time: 5/8/12 17:25 - 5/9/12 17:25 for section V.a. carbon monoxide was released about reportable quantities. In addition to carbon monoxide being above reportable quantity, benzene was as well although it was not reported as such. The reportable quantity for benzene is 10 lbs with the total amount of benzene being released from Shell Chemical LP - East Site being 967.9 lbs. The LDEQ sent out an emergency responder, Nicole Hardy, who took atmospheric samples from May 8, 2012 at 17:40 to 5/9/12 at 23:30 for a total of 1 day, 5 hours and 50 minutes; all of the samples came back as being below the Permissible Exposure Limits. Although they do not report the pollutant as exceeding reportable quantity - the facility released quantities that exceeded reportable quantities for benzene during the 2 days of this event. The initial verbal notification was made on May 8, 2012. There was an initial written notification (follow up report to verbal notification) made by both Shell chemical and Motiva on July 3, 2012. The first written notification was not made in a timely manner as per state regulations. Since the July 3rd report was their first written notification following the initial verbal notification, therefore they missed the 7 day deadline to make written notification (the deadline would have been May 15, 2013; it would be 48 days late as it was written 55 days after the accident). Another follow up report termed the "final release report" was made by both Shell chemical and Motiva on August 2, 2012. A final follow up report termed the "corrected final release report" was made by by Shell chemical on August 9, 2012 - there was no corrected final report made by Motiva.
151405

2013-10-05
RCCU Flare (FE-201)
Cause: Motiva's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) experienced a perceived flame outage on its elevated flare (FE-201) during planned shutdown and decontamination activities. Alarms on the RCCU Elevated Flare indicated that a flame was not present. Operations personnel went in the field and verified that a flame was actually present and the alarm was incorrect. As a precautionary measure, decontamination efforts stopped. Once flame verification was complete, decontamination efforts were restarted.

Followup: No

Notes:
156452

2014-06-01
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.
0.2 pounds
156026

2014-05-16
Propylene Pipeline Pump 2548
Cause: On 5/16/2014, operations personnel in Motiva Enterprises' Logistics area discovered a leak to the atmosphere from a filter pot gasket on a propylene pipeline pump 2548. The pump was immediately shutdown, blocked in and secured stopping the leak.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Pump was immediately shutdown, blocked in, and secured stopping the leak. The pump was repaired and returned to service on 5/22/2014. Neither report include release amount or whether the release was below reportable quantities.
No information given
154210

2014-02-27
RCCU
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.
257.0 pounds
153594

2014-01-28
Relief Valve @ Residual Cat. Cracking Unit
Cause: Relief valve on the depropanizer column at the Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit had lifted. Due to the inclement weather conditions, the pilot tubing for the Relief Valve was frozen which caused the Relief Valve inlet block valve to remain closed resulting in the relief valve to fail in the open position.

Followup: No

Notes: A steam hose was applied to the pilot tubing to defrost the tubing. Once the pilot tubing was thawed, the RV inlet block valve was opened and the RV was reseated. Motiva reports they will submit an update within 60 days. That update is not available at this time.
153484

2014-01-23
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.
153178

2014-01-06
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.