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Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

Releases of Nitrogen Oxide

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
97746

2007-07-10
OL-5 Flare (EPN #6-84)
Cause: Instrument problems at DHT (diesel hydrotreater) Process Unit caused a vent gas compressor to trip, resulted in flaring at Shell Chemical's OL-5 elevated flare.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Upon discovery, Motiva operations secured the DHT unit and shutdown the unit. Motiva's long-term plan to prevent recurrence is to install plug connectors on the unused pins of the DeltaV backplans. The plug connectors will be installed once the manufacturer provides suitable plugs that have been tested to allow problem-free installation and as control systems can be powered down during planned unit shutdowns to allow the installations of the plugs.
1.9 pounds
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.
69.5 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.
16,325.9 pounds
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.
143196

2012-09-23
GO-1 Elevated Flare FE-602 (EPN 1-90)
Cause: On September 24, 2012 Shell Chemical's GO-1 flared at the GO-1 Elevated Flare. Untreated RCCU dry gas was flared while isolating PV-1013, the RCCU dry gas knock out pot, where piping located at the bottom of the vessel was leaking. Equipment isolation was performed to allow access to the leaking line. Further investigation showed that the leak was due to corrosion under the insulation. The flaring at the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90) caused a release of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide also leaked from the bottom of PV-1013, the RCCU dry gas knock out pot, and flaring occurred while isolating PV-1013

Followup: Yes

Notes: Once access was provided, the line was blinded to stop the leak of untreated RCCU dry gas to the atmosphere. GO-1 operations personnel took the necessary steps to minimize flaring and eventually stop flaring, safely returning the unit to normal operating conditions. Once the unit was stabilized, untreated RCCU dry gas was routed into the fuel system and out of the flare. The leak was due to corrosion under insulation. The CUI inspection department will review service of the line and determine future inspection requirements for inspection cycle. The facility exceeded reportable quantities for sulfur dioxide (13908.15 lbs) and highly reactive volatile organic compounds (ethylene and propylene)[350 lbs]. They also exceeded permit limits for sulfur dioxide and hexane. SPOC report states material did go offsite.
551.6 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.
142207

2012-08-18
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90); Motiva West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84)
Cause: On August 18, 2012 Shell Chemical's GO-1 flared at the GO-1 Elevated Flare. The flaring was a result of an unexpected shutdown of the dry gas compressor. On August 18, 2012 Shell Chemical's GO-1 experienced a unit upset which led to flaring at Motiva's West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84).

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. Troubleshooting of the compressor was done to determine if the compressor could be safely restarted. The compressor was returned to normal operating conditions. A determination of why the compressor shutdown was inconclusive. Repairs were made to the compressor by Shell Chemical to allow for the compressor to be restarted and flaring stopped. Due to flaring at the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90), Shell Chemical East exceeded its reportable quantity for sulfur dioxide and its maximum permitted limits for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter (reported as smoking), sulfur dioxide, and hexane. The GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90) flared for 0 minutes. Due to flaring at the Motiva's West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84), Motiva exceeded the maximum permitted limit for hexane. They did not exceeded any reportable quantities. They also released carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter (reported as smoking), sulfur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds.
251.0 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.
19,679.5 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.
1,874.7 pounds
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.
96.2 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.
9,351.9 pounds
152800

2013-12-10
OL-5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)
Cause: On December 10, 2013, OL-5 operations experienced high acetylene content in the process. The material was flared to prevent further upsets which may have resulted in an even greater amount of flaring. OL-5 made adjustments to return the acetylene content back to specification. The OL-5 converter hydrogen appears to have been slipping a small amount of flow through a closed control valve into the hydrogen line supplying the acetylene converters causing the off specification production.

Followup: No

Notes: OL-5 is making changes in process guidelines to prevent recurrence. Shell Chemical confirmed that no reportable quantities were exceeded, however the maximum lbs/hr limit was exceeded for particulate matter.
108.2 pounds
152124

2013-11-02
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
Cause: On November 2, 2013, GO-1 had an unexpected process upset which resulted in flaring at the GO-1 Elevated Flare. The flaring resulted from GO-1 taking a stream into the unit from OP-1 which caused the Acetylene Converter to go off specification. The material was flared at the GO-1 Elevated flare to prevent additional upsets in GO-1. Following the investigation and calculations, Shell Chemical confirmed that no reportable quantities or Maximum Permitted Limits were exceeded.

Followup: Yes

Notes:
169.0 pounds
151584

2013-10-11
OL-5 Ground and Elevated Flares
Cause: On October 11, 2013, Shell Chemical's OL-5 Process Unit experienced an unexpected power failure which resulted in the shutdown of several pumps in the OL-5 Process Unit leading to a process upset and flaring at the OL-5 Ground Flare and OL-5 Elevated Flare. Several breakers in the main central control room were lost. The transformer that supplies power to these breakers tripped unexpectedly. This resulted in the shutdown of several pumps in the OL-5 Process Unit. Most of the pumps that shutdown had back-up spare pumps available and the spare pumps either automatically started or operations manually started them. The ethylene product pump did not have a back-up spare pump available. OL-5 was unable to send ethylene product to the downstream pipeline. This resulted in an inability to remove ethylene product from OL-5's C2 Splitter column and the pressure of the C2 Splitter increased. Elevated pressure in the C2 Splitter column was controlled by relieving to the OL-5 Ground Flare and OL-5 Elevated Flare.

Followup: Yes

Notes: To minimize impacts, spared pumps automatically started and operations started spare pumps manually that do not auto start. After securing and stabilizing the unit, OL-5 operations contacted electrical engineering and maintenance to repair the tripped transformer. On the evening of October 11, 2013, repairs to the transformer were completed, the transformer was placed back in service and flaring stopped. It has been determined that there are not any measures that could be taken to prevent the recurrence of this incident or a similar incident. Report states that all released materials were dispersed naturally in the atmosphere from the OL5 Ground and OL5 Elevated flare stacks. Shell Chemical confirmed that reportable quantity for Highly Reactive Organic Compounds (ethylene and propylene) was exceeded. The maximum permitted limits were exceeded for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.
1,079.5 pounds
148877

2013-05-23
West Operations Elevated Flare (EPN 5-84)
Cause: On May 23, an upset in the Shell Chemical's OP-1 process unit led to flaring at the West Operations Elevated Flare (EPN 5-84). The flaring was due to a high level in the Ethylene Refrigeration Compressor causing the compressor to shut down unexpectedly.

Followup: No

Notes: OP-1 operations took the necessary steps to minimize flaring, restart the compressor and safely return the unit to normal operation conditions. Operation's support will provide additional guidance and operational measures to be more effective in controlling levels and restoring normal operations after a compressor shutdown. States that no reportable quantities were exceeded, but the maximum permit limits for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and VOCs were exceeded.
11.5 pounds
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.
6,761.8 pounds
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.
13.0 pounds
155666

2014-04-29
Methyl Acetylene and Propadiene Converter
Cause: On April 29, 2014 Shell Chemical's GO1 Unit flared off speciation propylene at the West Operations Ground Flare (WOGF) as a result of an unexpected loss of hydrogen to the Methyl Acetylene and Propadiene (MAP) Converter. The transmitter that controls the total feed flow to the MAP Converter and the instrument protective function transmitter closed during maintenance activities. This caused the valves controlling hydrogen flow to close and hydrogen flow to the MAP Converter suddenly stopped.

Followup: Yes

Notes: No Information Given
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.
97.0 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.
3,372.0 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.
1,074.0 pounds
153600

2014-01-29
OL5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)
Cause: Shell Chemical's OL5 Unit flared carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, propylene and volatile organic compounds at the OL5 Ground Flare (EPN 7-84) and OL5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84). The flaring was a result of the propylene analyzer showing that propylene was off specification. After discovery, instrument technicians evaluated the analyzer and a sample of propylene was sent to the lab to verify the analyzer.

Followup: No

Notes: Motiva's industrial hygienists are monitoring downwind of the flare. Data gathering to perform calculations and investigation are ongoing.
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.