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Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

Releases of Ethylene

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.
144282

2012-10-30
GO-1 and OL-5 Elevated Flare
Cause: Shell Chemical's GO-1 Process Unit flared at the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90). The flaring was a result of an unexpected unit upset in GO-1 caused by the receiving of off specification feed from a supplier. Additionally, flaring occurred at the OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84), caused by the same issue.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Once the upsets occurred, GO-1 and OL-5 operations took the necessary steps to minimize flaring and safely return the units to normal operating conditions and the flaring stopped. Investigation and data gathering confirm that no RQ values or maximum permitted limits were exceeded.
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.
8,663.0 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.
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.
152570

2013-11-24
level control valve
level control valve in the de-methanizer system
Cause: On November 24, 2013, Shell Chemical's OL-5 operations discovered a packing leak on a level control valve in the de-methanizer system of the OL-5 Process Unit.

Followup: No

Notes: Operations took immediate action to mitigate the leak and have repairs made to the valve.
148040

2013-04-11
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
Cause: On April 11, 2013 Shell Chemical's GO-1 Process Unit flared at the GO-1 Elevated Flare. The flaring was a result of a restart of the import dry gas from a supplier. GO-1 operations has to flare the import dry gas until it can be confirmed that it meets the specifications for feed to the GO-1 Process Unit.

Followup: No

Notes: Carbon monoxide, ethylene, propylene, sulfur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds were released from flaring at the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90). Investigation and calculations confirm that no reportable quantities or maximum permit limits were exceeded. No duration or additional information was provided.
145744

2013-01-07
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
Cause: Shell Chemical's GO-1 Process Unit flared at the GO-1 Elevated Flare as a result of an unexpected unit upset in GO-1 caused by the receiving of off specification feed from a supplier.

Followup: Yes

Notes: GO-1 operations took the necessary steps to minimize flaring and safely return the units to normal operating conditions and the flaring stopped. No reportable quantities were exceeded.
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.
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.