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Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

Releases of Benzene

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
145259

2012-12-09
Pump 5016B
Cause: On 12/9/12, Shell Chemical OL-5 operations discovered a pressure gauge on the piping of Pump 5016B in the OL-5 Process Unit leaking hydrocarbon. Operations personnel immediately isolated the pressure gauge to stop the leak.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations personnel immediately isolated the pressure gauge to stop the leak. Operations also isolated the storm drain to contain the spilled material. A pumper truck was called to remove the liquid. The pressure gauge was replaced before the pump was returned to service. No materials were released above the RQ.
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.
585.9 pounds
145085

2012-12-02
OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)
Cause: On December 2, 2012, Shell Chemical's OL-5 Process Unit experienced an unexpected leak of the Core Exchanger, which led to flaring at the OL-5 Elevated Flare to isolate the leaking exchanger, repair, and return it to service. The release began on December 2, 2012 at 6:15 AM and ended on December 6, 2012 at 11:55 PM. Repairs were made to the core exchanger and the unit was safely returned to normal operations conditions.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The unit was secured and adjustments made to minimize flaring. Preparations were begun to complete repairs to the core exchanger. The flaring was stopped once the repairs were completed and the OL-5 process unit was safely restored to normal conditions. To prevent recurrence, maintenance practices were reviewed and improvements were made. Entire PDF report was not able to be uploaded. Contact LABB for the full report.
2,859.1 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.
141821

2012-08-03
Flange in OL-5 Process Unit
Cause: On August 3, 2012 Shell Chemicals OL-5 Process Unit experienced a release of pryolysis pitch from a flange while attempting to prepare a piece of equipment for a maintenance activity.

Followup: No

Notes: At the time of the release the flange was immediately closed and preparation of the equipment stopped until a new plan to complete the activity could be developed. The material was cleaned up and properly disposed. The only information given was from Shell Chemical East's Final Release Report.
141436

2012-07-22
GO-1 Process Unit tank
Cause: On July 22, 2012 GO-1 operators were in the process of draining the water layer from a tank to the oil water separator. During this process the tank level got low enough to allow a fuel oil layer to drain from the tank into the main conveyance system. This caused a release of benzene.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The fuel oil was recovered and the system returned to normal. No reportable quantities were exceeded. The report was submitted more than 7 days after the incident and verbal notification.
141462

2012-07-19
Pressure relief device on the GHT Process Unit
Cause: On July 19, 2012 in Shell Chemicals GHT Process Unit, a pressure relief device opened up releasing hydrocarbon to the atmosphere. The opening of the relief device occurred after the completion of a unit shutdown caused by the need to load shed the unit to help with a curtailment of the site's steam supply.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The unit was stabilized by stopping a feed pump and lowering of the pressure of the vessel that the device was protecting. A mitigation plan was developed and emergency response personnel went in and isolated the relief device to stop the leak. The unit remained down until the relief device could be sent out and repaired. Inspection of the relief device indicates that there was a failure of a bellows inside the relief device. Pressure equipment personnel recommended the use of a stronger bellows in the relief device. There is also a "management of change: in process that will change it to a conventional relief device and tie the discharge line to an existing line to the flare to prevent a release to atmosphere. In the calculations table it is reported that 10 lbs* of benzene was released. The asterisk note states that the actual estimated release was 9.55 lbs. The report was submitted more than 7 days after the incident and verbal notification.
10.0 pounds
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.
825.7 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.
2.9 pounds
139571

2012-05-09
Furnace in the OL-5 Process Unit
Cause: On May 9, 2012 Shell Chemicals OL-5 Process Unit experienced a small fire during restart of a furnace. After feed to the furnace was established as part of furnace start up, a gasket on the 42" feed line failed. Hydrocarbon vapors from the leaking gasket were then ignited.

Followup: No

Notes: The valve providing feed to the furnace was closed and the fire was extinguished. Upon further investigation of the gasket failure it was discovered that recommended maintenance practices for installation of these type gaskets was not followed during this installation. After inspection it was also believed that the nuts and bolts used were worn and may have reached the end of their useful life. New quality control procedures are being put in place to ensure that the proper installation is used in future installation of this type gasket. It was also recommended that the nuts and bolts be replaced during the repair work on the flange and that closer inspections of the nuts and bolts be done during future repairs. LABB was only able to find the final follow-up; there was no facility letter. Shell estimates that there was a leakage of approximately 200lbs of quench oil which is broken down in the pollutants.
137810

2012-03-12
OL-5 Elevated Flare FE-101 (EPN 6-84); OL-5 Ground Flare FG-101 (EPN 7-84)
Cause: On March 12, 2012 Shell Chemical's OL-5 Unit Operators got an indication that the Process Gas Compressor (PGC) first stage control valve had opened to the flare system due to high suction pressure. The PGC turbine had slowed down causing the kickback valves to open. Slowdown of the turbine was caused by a high level in the surface condenser. The materials were released from OL-5 Elevated Flare FE-101 (EPN 6-84) and OL-5 Ground Flare FG-101 (EPN 7-84).

Followup: No

Notes: OL-5 Operations lowered the surface condenser level and the kickback flows to lower the first stage suction pressure. These actions stopped the flaring. All materials routed to flare were combusted with an approximate destruction efficiency of 99.5% released from the OL-5 Elevated Flare and Ol-5 Ground Flare to the atmosphere and dispersed naturally. Maintenance was called in to troubleshoot the surface condenser level indication. Instrument mechanics checked level controller and found dirt on the flapper nozzle. The nozzle was cleaned and proper operation of the control valve was checked. Instrument mechanics also found the door to the instrument center in the open position, which possibly allowed dirt into the enclosure. Operational rounds have been updated to include the task to check enclosure doors. Propylene is listed in the LDEQ's Verbal report as having been released as well, but there is no mention of it later on in the follow-up report from Shell. The measurements were obtained by adding the same pollutants from both flares together. Initial report states material did go offsite. Air was monitored around the perimeter of the facility. No reportable quantities were exceeded, but permit levels were exceeded for ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene.
13.0 pounds
137093

2012-02-09
F-131 in the GO-1 Process Unit
Cause: The GO-1 operators discovered a leak in a tube in furnace F-131 in the GO-1 Process Unit. The leak released benzene and unburned hydrocarbons from the tube to the atmosphere in the GO-1 Process Unit. The leak caused smoking for 15 minutes.

Followup: No

Notes: GO-1 operators immediately stopped the flow of process gas to the furnace and began to steam purge the tube to prepare the furnace for repairs. The furnace was safely brought down to complete repairs. The furnace will remain down until repairs are completed.
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.
55.8 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.
8.9 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.
148977

2013-06-01
OL-5 Exchange Unit E1970
WWTP system
Cause: On June 1, a release of Benzene, Naphthalene, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and Volatile Organic Compounds occurred. The release was due to an unexpected leak on an OL-5 process unit 20lb Steam Regenerator Exchanger. The Norco Site Supervisor was notified by a st. Charles DEP deputy of an odor detected along highway 61. The leaking steam condensate entrained with CLGO (cracked light gas oil) hydrocarbon entered the storm water drain and the refinery conveyance system.

Followup: Yes

Notes: At the time of the LDEQ verbal notification, in house monitoring levels of Benzene were 5.0 ppm. The material was removed from the storm water drains and conveyance systems and disposed of properly. Mr. White stated the product was being routed to an oily/water separator, thence to their WWTP system for treatment. They were "slabbing" the condensate as of approximately 1415 hours. Gas oil release is now ongoing and is going to effluent system and being picked up at their separator. The material was reported to have gone offsite - released to the air. Inside the facility air monitoring was between 6-10 ppm. There was no offsite protective action. The 24 hour update states the exchanger 1970 was taken off line which is what was leaking. Have contractors picking up the oil out of the F1 system.
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.
110.9 pounds
148703

2013-05-10
1-90 (GO-1 Elevated Flare, FE-602)
5-84 (West Ops Elevated Flare, FE-601)
8-84 RCCU Elevated Flare (FE-201)
Cause: On May 10, Motiva's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) discovered a catalyst leak in the unit's second cyclone dip leg. Operations responded immediately and worked to isolate this section of the unit. However, due to the location of the leak it was determined the line could not be isolated without diverting the RCCU process unit to hot circulation. The diverting process required flaring at the GO-1 Elevated flare (EPN 1-90) and West Ops Ground Flare (EPN 9-84). Additional flaring occurred at the Motiva RCCU Elevated Flare (EPN 8-84). Emissions from that flare should be addressed in a separate letter from Motiva. The reintroduction of Motiva's RCCU untreated dry gas resulted in the shell GO-1 unit flaring to the West Ops Elevated Flare.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Once system was secured, Motiva's maintenance personnel began repairs at the catalyst leak point. By May 12, the repairs on the system were completed and the system was returned to service. The diversion and reintroduction of RCCU Untreated Dry Gas caused the Shell GO-1 unit to flare to the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90) until unit specifications were met. This flaring exceeded reportable quantities.
1.5 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

2013-05-05
tank vent
Cause: On May 5, at 1750 hours there was a benzene release at Shell Chemical East Site. Shell Chemical's GO-1 Process Unit identified a trace of benzene venting from a temporary tank used for de-inventorying the GO-1 unit to prepare for turnaround activities.

Followup: No

Notes: GO-1 operations notified Shell Emergency Services to provide monitoring of the temporary tank and surrounding area until conditions were safely returned to normal.
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.
29.7 pounds
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:
157206

2014-07-01
OL-5 Unit
Cause: The Shell Chemical OL-5 Unit has two pyrofrac bottoms filters. A leak in two-inch piping adjacent to one of the two pyrofrac bottoms filter caused a spill of materials. The second filter was out of service for maintenance at the time of the leak.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations immediately completed maintenance on the out-of-service filter and returned it back to service in order to shutdown the pyrofrac bottoms filter that was adjacent to the leak. The leak stopped once this filter was taken out of service.
156193

2014-05-23

Cause: On May 23, 2014, Motiva's DU-5 unit unexpectedly had the relief valve on their Debutanizer Accumulator, part of the Debutanizer Overhead System, relieve to Shell Chemical's Utilities East Elevated Flare (FE-501). The relief valve lifted as a result of an accumulation of hydrocarbons in the Debutanizer Overhead System.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Unit pressure and feed levels were safely diminished to conform to standards. 6/6/14 report states that no reportable quantities were exceeded.
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.
90.0 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.
4.0 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.
153073

2014-01-06
Relief valve located in OL-5
Cause: Shell Chemicals OL5 Unit released low pressure stripper bottoms material (benzene) to the concrete slab from the bellows on a relief valve (RV) in OL5. Operations immediately blocked in the RV and began to clean up the spill.

Followup: No

Notes: Data calculations and investigations are still ongoing. The report indicates that Shell would provide an update report within 60 days of the incident date on 1/6/14. As of 9/5/2014 that update has yet to be provided.
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.