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Valero (1238), Meraux

Releases of Nitrogen Oxide

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

FLARE - Fuel gas regulator to Boiler B-6 / North and South Flares
Cause: root cause may have been contaminants in the fuel gas regulator to Boiler -B-6 which caused an automatic safety shutdown of Boiler B-6. As MOUSA attempted to restart the boiler and enact our Steam Shedding Olant to conserve steam, a steam deficit forcedBoiler B-5 and more units into safety shutdowns, resulting in large flares with smoke. A contributing factor was the inability to quickly restart Boiler B-6, which could not achieve startup permissive in the control system due to improper inlet airdamper position.

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: This incident was self reported by Murphy who described it in their first report to LDEQ as, smoking flares going off due to loss boiler and emissions from the hydrocracker and cat cracker…unknown chemical. The LDEQ report says the incident lasted several hours yet does not include any information regarding what type of chemical was released. The verbal update from Murphy (with no date) says that small amounts of sulfur dioxide were released and small amounts of nitrogen - maybe 10 pounds - was reed. It also states that, Smoke is particulates is unknown. This incident was not preventable because the failure of the fuel gas regulator was not a predictable event. Remedial Measures - MOUSA replaced the fuel gas regulator on Boiler B-6 and instal
20.0 pounds

FLARE- instrument air dryer and plant air headers
Cause: The root cause was determined to be inadequate labeling and operator understanding of the instrument and plant air utilities system.

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: This incident was listed as preventable because MOUSA did not maintain current labeling and P&IDs for the utilities section, and did not provide adequate training on the system. Remedial Measures - MOUSA will upgrade the labeling on pipes and valvesin the plant and instrument air utilities, update P&ID's for the air systems, install chain locks on critical valves, and provide operator training of the air systems. The report from Murphy states, MOUSA experienced automatic safety shutdowf several units following the loss of instrument air. As MOUSA attempted to restart units and restore balanced operations, the C3/C4 Splitter experienced a malfunction, resulting in a large flame with smoke emissions at the North Flare. MOUSA had sta
43.0 pounds

FLARE - Main Airblower at the #2 FCC, C3/C4 Splitter/ FCCU Fractionator
Cause: the refinery experienced an automatic safety shutdown of the Main Air Blower at the #2 FCC, resulting in the release of FCC catalyst from the #2 FCC ESP stack (EPN #2-77). As MOUSA attempted to start the unit and achieve balanced operations in the refinery, the C3/C4 Splitter experienced a malfunction, resulting in a large flame with smoke emissions at the North Flare. The events may have been related and are under investigation. (Maybe an air pocket got into the system and caused this -see #102043)

Followup: Yes

Notes: This incident report includes two citizen complaints and a self report from Murphy to the LDEQ. Incident #102043, 102007, 102011, and 102050 are all regarding the same incident as best I can tell. In Murphy's report, they acknowledged that the eventresulted in significant flaring from the FCC main column overhead receiver and the C3/C4 Splitter. Also, MOUSA claims that they received three complaints of visible emissions but no allegations of impact. The LDEQ report states that some particulateter was released to the neighborhood and that at the time of the incident there was a north/northwest wind. NOTE- at the time of this report the incident was under investigation. However, no follow-up report was provided to the Bucket Brigade.
43.0 pounds

Crude Unit Fire
North Flare, South Flare, #2 SRU Incinerator Stack, Vacuum Tower Bottoms
North Flare, South Flare, #2 SRU Incinterator Stack; Vaccuum Tower Bottoms
Cause: Valero experienced a fire in the Crude Unit. Valero reported excess emissions of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and particulate matter from the fire, flaring at the North Flare and South Flare and excess emissions at the #2 Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU) Incinerator Stack. Valero was in the process of starting up the Crude Unit following an electrical transformer failure which occurred in the Vacuum Unit on July 20. Incident number 141430 associated with the power failure describes details about the power failure and emissions released directly related to the event on that date. An 8 inch piping elbow in the Crude Unit failed, releasing Vacuum Tower Bottoms (VTB) onto adjacent piping and equipment. The hot product ignited, creating a fire in the pipe rack and a pool fure beneath the Crude Unit desalters and several nearby heat exchangers. The crude unit fire began at 0130 hours on July 22, 2013. The fire was "contained" at 0330 hours, and was extinguished at 0650 hours. The total time duration of the fire was 5.4 hours. The total flaring duration lasted 40.5 hours. Valero concluded that the triggering event was the failure of a piping elbow which resulted from a thinned wall due to high-temperature sulfidation corrosion. The elbow was of carbon steal construction, in a service requiring chrome alloy construction. Valero concluded that the root cause was that poor quality control practices and procedures were utilized when the elbow was installed in 1990 by the previous owner of the refinery.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Shutdown procedures were quickly initiated for all refinery units while the Valero Emergency Response Team responded to the fire. During the event and for part of the day, periodic flaring occurred as units were placed in safe condition. The fire lasted for a duration of 5 hours 24 minutes. Flaring associated with the refinery shutdown occurred for a duration of 40 hours 30 minutes. Sulfur dioxide, estimated at 2534 pounds, and hydrogen sulfide, estimated at 27 pounds, was released at the North Flare, South Flare, and the #2 SRU Incinerator Stack. Sulfur dioxide, estimated at 3382 pounds, and hydrogen sulfide, estimated at 5 pounds, was released from the uncontrolled burning of Vacuum Tower Bottoms in the fire. Before Completion of the repairs and startup of the Crude Unit, Valero conducted PMI testing of all piping circuits potentially subject to sulfidation corrosion in the Crude and Vacuum Units. During this process, some pipin and one additional carbon steel elbow were discovered and replaced. Valero will increase the inspection frequency from once every ten years to once every 2-3 years, which is more frequent than the 5-year inspection interval specified by industry standards for Class 1 piping.
326.0 pounds