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Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

Releases of 1,3-Butadiene

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
145352

2012-12-13
OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)
Cause: Shell Chemical's OL-5 Process Unit experienced an unexpected unit upset which led to flaring at the OL-5 Elevated Flare. This process upset was caused by the production of off specification debutanizer overhead product. The off specification debutanizer overhead product was caused by temperature control issues while OL-5 operations was in the process of swapping heat exchangers.

Followup: No

Notes: OL-5 Operations left both exchangers in service to regain temperature control and recover from the unit upset and stop the flaring. OL-5 Operations will return to single exchanger operation as soon as practical and clean the fouled exchanger. The cause of the exchanger fouling is attributred o the breaking off of polymer produced in the process. The polymer was believed to have been broken off and moved into the exchanger causing it to be fouled during a recent, unexpected process upset. A further investigation into the cause of this incident will be conducted and any preventative actions discovered will be implemented.
117.1 pounds
145179

2012-12-06
WOGF, GO-1 EF
Cause: On December 6, 2012, Shell Chemical's GO-1 flared at the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90). The flaring was a result of an unexpected loss of power due to the trip of an Entergy breaker supplying the GO-1 unit. The GO-1 Unit trip caused a release to the atmosphere from the GO-1 Propylene Splitter Column.

Followup: Yes

Notes: GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to minimize flaring and safely return the unit to normal operating conditions and the flaring stopped. Data gathering to perform calculations and investigation are ongoing. Shell provided an amended final follow up notification on June 27, 2013. Reportable quantities for VOCs were exceeded. On December 9, 2012 the reportable quantities for Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Particulate Matter, and 1,3-Butadiene were exceeded. On December 8, 2012 reportable quantities for particulate matter were exceeded. On a report dated June 27, 2013, the emissions of propylene and propane were amended.
2,737.4 pounds
142287

2012-08-21
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
Cause: Flaring from the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90) was a result of an unexpected shutdown of the propylene refrigerant compressor.

Followup: No

Notes: GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to minimize flaring and safely return the unit to normal operating conditions and the flaring stopped. Investigation and data gathering confirm that no RQ or maximum permitted limits were exceeded.
140766

2012-06-23
GO-1 Pressure Relief Device
West Ops Ground Flare (EPN 9-84); GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
Cause: On June 23, 2012 Shell Chemical's GO-1 flared at the GO-1 Elevated Flare. The flaring was a result of an upset when the Propylene Refrigerant Compressor kickbacks started swinging and affecting the rest of the process unit. The swings became uncontrollable and the cold-side of GO-1 was shutdown to get the propylene refrigerant compressor and the ethylene refrigerant compressor under control. GO-1 flared process gas off the Process Gas Compressor 4th stage discharge and light fractionation columns, dry gas off the dry gas compressor discharge, and propylene and ethylene off the refrigeration compressors. On June 23, 2012 Shell Chemical's GO-1 experienced a unit upset which led to flaring at Motiva's West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84). The flaring was a result of a unit upset that caused a cold-side shutdown of the GO-1 Process Unit.

Followup: No

Notes: The report was submitted more than seven days after the incident and verbal notification. GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to minimize flaring and safely return the unit to normal operating conditions and the flaring stopped. During this incident a pressure device opened to lower process pressure, releasing ethylene to the atmosphere. GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to safely return the unit to normal operating conditions and the flaring stopped. The pressure relief device closed once the pressure was lowered below the set-point. GO-1 Operations completed a Management of Change to reset the parameters in the compressor surge control system for the propylene refrigerant compressor to allow for the compressor to be restarted and prevent a reoccurrence of another similar incident. Motiva did not exceed any reportable quantities or maximum permitted limits. Shell Chemical - East exceeded its reportable quantity for highly reactive volatile organic compounds (ethylene) which was released from the a pressure relief device on GO-1 operations. It also exceeded its maximum permitted limits for 1,3 butadiene and hexane. It flared for 1 day and 21 hours (45 hours). Although Shell Chemical - East has stated that no reportable quantities were exceeded from flaring, some chemicals, such as benzene (RQ: 10 lbs) and sulfur dioxide (RQ: 500 lbs), etc. , exceeded their reportable quantities. The release of particulate matter from both flares was reported as smoking.
3,600.2 pounds
140715

2012-06-22

Motiva West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84); GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
Cause: On June 22, 2012 Shell Chemical's GO-1 flared at the GO-1 Elevated Flare. The flaring was a result of a malfunction in the computer control system. On June 22, 2012 Shell Chemical's GO-1 experienced a unit upset which led to flaring at Motiva's West Operations Elevated Flare (EPN 9-84). The flaring was a result of a malfunction in the computer control system.

Followup: No

Notes: GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to safely return the unit to normal operating conditions and the flaring stopped. The follow-up later was sent more than 7 days after the incident occurred. Maintenance worked with the manufacturer of the DCS and discovered there was an issue with a card in the system. Upon filing the cards memory, a dumping of memory and resetting of the card occurs. This process led to the unexpected shutdown of equipment and the upset in the GO-1. The manufacturer had identified the problem with these cards, but no action to correct the issue had occurred. Maintenance has replaced the card with the issue in order to prevent a reoccurrence of this incident. Motiva did not exceed any reportable quantities or maximum permitted limits during this event. Shell Chemical East did not exceed any reportable quantities, but they did exceed their maximum permitted limits for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds. The pollutant totals were determined by adding together the releases from both Shell Chemical LP - East, GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90) and Motiva West Ops Elevated Flare (EPN 9-84) together.
14.2 pounds
136479

2012-01-12
Relief valve in the OL-5 Process Unit
Cause: While making an inspection round on January 12, 2012, OL-5 operators found that a relief valve in the OL-5 Process Unit was leaking out of the vent connection. Process data does not indicate that the relief valve reached a high enough pressure to open. This relief valve has a bellows and the bellows top flange ring was found to be cracked in the rolled edge. The crack was approximately 1.5" long, and is believed to be a manufacturing defect. The valve has been returned to the manufacturer for inspection.

Followup: No

Notes: The operators immediately stopped the pump that supplies the pressure to this relief valve and the relief valve was blocked in per mitigation plan. The crack was approximately 1.5" long, and is believed to be a manufacturing defect. The valve has been returned to the manufacturer for inspection. The discharged was released mainly to a stormwater concrete containment area. There is some evaporation into the atmosphere. Vacuum truck cleaned up remaining material. Only benzene was above a reportable quantity during this leak.
0.7 pounds
152921

2013-12-19
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
Cause: On December 19, 2013, GO-1 had an unexpected process upset which resulted in flaring at the GO-1 Elevated Flare. The flaring was a result of a swing on the cold site of GO-1, which resulted in an upset at the propylene re-compressor. Ending date above is the reported anticipated end date, assuming troubleshooting efforts continue as planned.

Followup: No

Notes: Operations is currently stabilizing the unit and minimizing the flaring. Data gathering to perform calculations and investigation are ongoing. Shell will provide an update within 60 days.
No information on re
152916

2013-12-18
OL-5 Ground (EPN 7-84) and Elevated (EPN 6-84)
Cause: On December 18, 2013, Shell Chemical's OL-5 Unit shut down to complete scheduled maintenance. While walking out the unit, a pressure equipment inspector found a section of piping that was experiencing corrosion under insulation. After further investigation, a plan was devised to shut down the unit in order to repair this thinned section of piping and prevent additional unit upset conditions. Flaring to OL-5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84) resulted from a unit shutdown to complete planned maintenance on a section of piping downstream of the ethylene refrigerant compressor experiencing corrosion.

Followup: Yes

Notes: To minimize additional unit upset conditions and impacts, the OL5 unit was shutdown and the thin wall piping was repaired. A review of the corrosion under insulation will be performed to identify improvements which can be made to prevent future re-occurrences.
913.3 pounds
150009

2013-07-29

Cause: On July 29, 2013, there was a release of 1,3 butadiene, benzene, and hydrogen sulfide due to a GO-1 process gas leak to the condensate system. While working with operations, personnel monitoring the fugitive emission components in the unit found the GO-1 caustic column feed pre-heater exchanger leaking process gas to the condensate system. Operations redirected the contaminated condensate to the flare system due to the condensate system flash drum venting to the atmosphere.

Followup: Yes

Notes: GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to minimize the release to the atmosphere. Operations personnel were able to complete a management of change to route the contaminated condensate to the flare. The leaking exchanger is scheduled for a metallurgy upgrade during the next GO-1 North turnaround. Upgrading the metallurgy should prevent any future leaks.
149751

2013-07-18
No Information Given
Cause: On July 18, operations personnel in Logistics discovered a temporary clamp on a 1,3 Butadiene line was leaking.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Immediately after discovery, maintenance began repairs. This incident is linked to a complaint regarding excessive flaring investigated by LDEQ. The follow up report states that no reportable quantities were exceeded, and no additional information was provided.
148901

2013-05-16
West Ops Elevated Flare
Cause: On May 17,a release of carbon monoxide, ethane, and methane occurred due to flaring from a GO-1 unit upset caused by a De-methanizer shutdown. Unit feed composition caused unanticipated low temperature issues leading to a unit shutdown.

Followup: No

Notes: GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to safely return the unit to normal operating conditions and minimize flaring. Procedures will be updated to provide guidance and operational measures to restore normal operations after a unit shutdown.
719.3 pounds
148176

2013-04-19
OL-5 Elevated Flare, FE-101
Cause: On April 19, 2013 Shell Chemical's OL-5 Process Unit experienced an unexpected upset that led to flaring at the OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84). The flaring was caused by high pressure on the process gas compressor (PGC) first stage suction drum. A pressure increase on the suction drum was due to the PGC slowing down as a result to the loss of vacuum on the compressor surface condenser. The surface condenser vacuum was lost due to a faulty level indication causing the loss of vacuum on surface condenser. The PGC upset also caused OL-5 cold-side to flare propylene off the outlet of the map converters because of a low flow shutdown of the converters.

Followup: No

Notes: OL-5 operations field verified the level int he PGC surface condenser and took corrective actions to safely return the unit to normal operating conditions and stop the flaring. OL-5 Maintenance repaired the PGC surface condenser level transmitter. Control systems adjusted the vacuum alarm setting for the PGC surface condenser to warn operators before the surface condenser vacuum is lost. Final calculations confirm that no reportable quantities were exceeded. The maximum permitted limits were exceeded for particulate matter, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene.
32.5 pounds
159530

2014-10-18
BD5 Unit
Cause: On October 18, 2014, Shell Chemical's BD5 Unit flared butadiene heavy ends (BDHE) at the OL5 Ground Flare (FG-101). The process filters in Shell Chemical's OL5 Unit plugged from coke being in the system. To safely change the filters, the feed to the OL5 furnaces was reduced. In order to reduce the feed to the furnaces at OL5, an alternative routing for BDHE one of the OL5's feeds, is controlled to the flare. BDHE were routed to the flare during the furnace feed reductions at OL5 to change the unit's process filters. Flaring of BDHE during unit maintenance is a permitted activity.

Followup: No

Notes: Report states that flaring was permitted and no reportable quantities or permit limits were exceeded. No information given about remedial actions.
158697

2014-09-12
DU-5 Unit
Cause: On September 12, 2014, Motiva's DU-5 unit received a shipment of crude oil that contained an unusually large amount of water. DU-5's normal operations removes the water from the crude and sends the water to the unit desalters. The large volume of water that was removed from the crude formed an emulsion which caused the desalter level instrumentation to malfunction. After the desalters, the water is routed to the sour water drum, but due to the instrumentation malfunction on the desalter, the water sent to the sour water drum exceeded the volume that could be pumped from the drum. The water sent to the sour water drum overflowed into the Low Pressure Flare Header. Once the water overflowed to the Low Pressure Flare Header, the liquid went to the Shell Chemical LP Utilities East Flare Pot and was combusted at the Utilities East Flare.

Followup: No

Notes:
157155

2014-06-30
BD5 Unit
Cause: On 6/30/2014, Shell Chemical's BD5 Unit flared butadiene heavy ends (BDHE) at the OL5 Ground Flare (FG-101). Motiva Enterprises LLC's Naptha Hydrotreater (NHT) reduced its rates in order to complete a planned exchanger water wash and as a result stopped receiving BDHE from BD5. Flaring of BDHE during planned unit maintenance is a permitted activity.

Followup: No

Notes: No Information Given
156402

2014-05-31
BD5 Unit, diethanolamine supply pump
Cause: On May 31, 2014, Shell Chemical's BD5 Unit flared butadiene heavy ends (BDHE) at the OL5 elevated flare. Motiva unexpectedly had a diethanolamine supply pump begin to smoke and exhibit high vibrations. In response to the pump issues, Motiva had to utilize one pumping source for supplying the site with diethanolamine. To safely operate within the design capacity of the pump, Motiva required their units to reduce their diethanolamine usage. The Naptha Hydrotreater (NHT) had to reduce its rates in order to decrease its diethanolamine usage by not receivign BDHE from BD5, routing BDHE to the OL5 Elevated Flare.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Report on 7/2/14 states that no reportable quantities were exceeded.
155954

2014-05-09
BD5 Unit post fractionator
Cause: On 5/9/2014, Shell Chemical's BD5 Unit flared process gas at the OL5 Ground Flare (FG-101). The pressure of the post fractionator unexpectedly increased resulting in a unit upset requiring BD5 to flare 1,3 butadiene product to safely stabilize the unit. It was determined that the pressure increase on the post was the result of a malfunctioned pressure transmitter.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Immediately, to minimize additional unit upset conditions and impacts, various process parameters were monitored and it was determined that the pressure increase on the post was the result of a malfunctioned pressure transmitter. The transmitter was monitored until repairs could be completed. To prevent the reoccurrence of this incident, maintenance evaluated the pressure transmitter and found that there was moisture inside the wiring terminal portion of the transmitter and the transmitter had loose wiring. The moisture was removed, wiring was tightened and it was verified that the transmitter cover was sealed to prevent reentry of moisture.
48.0 pounds
154582

2014-03-17
Primary depropanizer and debutanizer columns in OL5 Unit
Cause: On 3/17/2014, Shell Chemical's OL5 Unit flared process gas at the OL5 Ground Flare due to fluctuations in temperatures on the primary depropanizer and the debutanizer columns. The fluctuations in the temperatures at the primary depropanizer and debutanizer columns affected the pressure of the columns. Hydrocarbons from the depropanizer column were routed to the debutanizer column causing the pressure of the debutanizer column to rise and relieve to the OL5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84).

Followup: Yes

Notes: To minimize additional unit upset conditions and impacts, additional furnaces within the unit were put into operation. This minimized the temperature fluctuations and the OL5 Unit was safely stabilized and able to return to normal operations. No specific remedial actions have been taken or planned at this time. Values for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) includes Highly Reactive VOCs (HRVOCs), including specifically Propylene and Ethylene. These HRVOC's exceeded LADEQ RQ values, but were not reported individually.
120.0 pounds
154274

2014-03-06
Process gas compressor in OL5 Unit
Cause: On 3/6/2014, Shell Chemical's OL5 Unit flared process gas at the OL5 Elevated Flare due to low seal oil pressure on the process gas compressor (PGC). To improve the performance of the seals on the PGC, operations manipulates valves on the PGC seal oil system. While shifting from automatic operation of the pressure controller on the second stage seal of the PGC to manual operation of the pressure controller, the valve on the pressure controller closed and caused low seal oil pressure. As a result, the PGC unexpectedly shut down as a safety measure to prevent potential catastrophic failure of the equipment.

Followup: Yes

Notes: To minimize additional unit upset conditions and impacts, the OL5 Unit was safely stabilized. Operations adjusted the valve on the pressure controller and the seal oil pressure was restored. Operations was able to safely restart the PGC and return normal operating conditions. To prevent the reoccurence of this incident, it will be determined if tuning adjustments are needed on the pressure controllers associated with the PGC operation. As an additional precautionary measure, all employees that operate the PGC will review the transfer process for these local controllers. In the report, it is stated that the process gas was flared at the OL5 Elevated Flare. Later in the document both the OL5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84) and the OL5 Ground Flare (EPN FE-101) are implicated in the flaring of the process gas. There is some improper labeling on the EPN number in the tables, but it appears that the flaring occurred at both flares simultaneously. As such, all values released are combined in this database.
574.0 pounds
154254

2014-03-04
OP-1
Cause: On 3/4/2014, Shell Chemical's OP-1 Unit flared process gas at the GO1 Elevated Flare due to low lube oil pressure on the process gas compressor (PGC). The main lube oil pump for the PGC had a mechanical failure and unexpectedly shutdown, resulting in the shutdown of the PCG.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Immediately, feed was safely removed from the OP-1 PGC and once the failure was identified, the feed was removed from the OP-1 furnace to repair the PGC. To prevent the recurrence of this incident, the failed mechanical components of the affected lube oil system of the PGC were repaired and the OP-1 Unit was safely restarted and returned to normal operation on 3/14/2014.
153803

2014-02-06
BD5 Unit
Cause: On 2/6/14, a vent heater from Shell Chemical's Butadiene 5 (BD5) Unit to the OL5 process gas compressor (PGC) unexpectedly froze during inclement weather, resulting in flaring at the OL5 ground flare. Once the header thawed, the unit was safely returned to normal operating conditions on 2/7/14, and the flaring stopped.

Followup: Yes

Notes: To minimize additional unit upset conditions and impacts, the vent stream from BD5 was routed to the flare until the header thawed. Once thawed, the vent stream was returned to its normal routing and BD5 was safely returned to normal operating conditions. To prevent the reoccurrence of this incident, the use of heat tracing and the development of a procedure to mitigate the frozen header are being evaluated. Both the reportable quantity and permit limit for 1,3 butadiene were exceeded.
58.0 pounds
153355

2014-01-08
GO1 Unit
Cause: The GO1 Unit flared process gas as the result of an instrument giving a faulty signal.

Followup: No

Notes: The investigation is ongoing and the report states that Shell plans to provide a follow-up.
153069

2014-01-03
OL-5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL-Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)
Cause: xylene, toluene, 1-3 butadiene, benzene, carbon monoxide, ethyl benzene, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, and sulfur dioxide flared at the OL-5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL-Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84). The flaring resulted from a unit shutdown to repair the C2 Splitter Exchanger that was leaking.

Followup: No

Notes: There is no information on the amounts nor an incident ending date. The anticipated end time was reported as 1/17/2014. Shell stated they would provide an update within 60 days of the initial report on 1/9/2014 as of 9/5/2014 there has yet to be any kind of follow up report from Shell regarding this matter.