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Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

Releases of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons

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

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.

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.

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.
24.8 pounds