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Motiva Enterprises (2719), Convent

Releases in 2012

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source/Release CauseNotes
145421

2012-12-17
Point Source(s):
Sulfur Recovery Unit No. 3 (SRU-3) incinerator stack

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

On December 17, 2012, Motiva Entersprises, LLC Convent Refinery (Motiva) reported a potential sulfur dioxide (SO2) release which occurred at the facility due to a regulator malfunction while shutting down Sulfur Recovery Unit No. 3 (SRU-3) for maintenance. The malfunction caused the downstream Tail Gas Treatment Unit No. 3 (TGTU-3) to be bypassed resulting in SO2 emissions from the incinerator stack. The material released to the air did go offsite according to the facility's verbal report.
The incident was initially reported as a potential exceedance of the 500-lb Reportable Quantity (RQ) for sulfur dioxide (SO2). However, after further calculation, the total sulfur dioxide emissions from this incident were not above the reportable quantity.
145221

2012-12-06
Point Source(s):
Sump pump

Pollutant(s):
Oil - 50 gallons
Cause of Problem: No Information Given

A sump located at the refinery's laboratory overflowed to the ground and then into a nearby ditch. The incident was caused by a sump overflow.
The free oil was contained in the on-site ditch using containment booming. A vacuum truck was then used to clean the oil from the ditch. Immediate actions were taken to reduce levels in the laboratory sump. Oil that had collected in the ditch was contained with booms and recovered using a vacuum truck. There was no free oil or sheen discharged off-site. The incident was caused by a sump overflow. The maintenance department is investigating the sump system and possible restrictions in the discharge piping, which potentially caused the high level in the sump.
144945

2012-11-28
Point Source(s):
FCCU

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Start Up, Shut Down

On November 28, 2012, Motiva Convent Refinery reported a potential sulfur dioxide (SO2) release which occurred at the facility due to operational swings during the startup of the FCCU.
The incident was initially reported as a potential exceedance of the 500-lb Reportable Quantity (RQ) for sulfur dioxide (SO2). However, after further calculation, the total sulfur dioxide emissions from this incident were not above the reportable quantity.
144564

2012-11-13
Point Source(s):
Flare 1-4
Flare 1-4, TGTU- 1,2,3,5 Incinerator,
Flare 1-4, TGTU-1,3,4 Incinerator, HTU-1 HSR Reboiler, Boiler #1, Boiler #2, Boiler (EQT0037)

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 34,788 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide - 205 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 115 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 422 pounds
Particulate Matter - 23 pounds
Carbon Monoxide - 1,116 pounds
Cause of Problem: Power Failure

This incident involved an upset of the refinery due to a loss of power to the site from our energy supplier's system. Several operating units were affected by the power loss which caused emissions of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide from the release and combustion of hydrocarbons at the Motiva Enterprises LLC (Motiva) - Convent Refinery.
Immediately, the operating units were stabilized to reduce the impact from the emissions. Several operating units were shutdown and remaining online units followed the emergency procedure for steam load shedding to minimize emissions. Exceeded the 500-pound (lb) reportable quantity (RQ) for sulfur dioxide (SO2). SO2 maximum lb/hr emission limits were exceeded at Tail Gas Treating Units 1, 3, and 4, the Flare CAP, and at combustion devices (i.e. heaters) burning refinery fuel gas. Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) maximum lb/hr emission rates were exceeded at Tail Gas Treating Units 1, 2, 3, and 5, and at the Flare CAP. The maximum lb/hr emission rates of NOx, CO, VOC, and PM were experienced at the Flare CAP. Lastly, the maximum opacity limit as required by LAC 33:III.1101.B for SRU No. 4 TGTU Incinerator Stack was also exceeded at the time of the incident.
144557

2012-11-09
Point Source(s):
Flare 4

Pollutant(s):
Flammable Gas - BRQ
Hydrogen Sulfide - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

The flammable gas is not being combusted because the flare pilot has been extinguished... Attempting to relight the pilot... As soon as they do they do they will call back... Product is still releasing... They have put the flare back into the recovery system to minimize the amount of H2S released... It is being managed and is under control... They will call back once the pilot is back on... Flare pilot outage on Flare 4
On the SPOC report, 300 lbs of Hydrogen sulfide was initially reported as being released; in their 7 day letter they reported that they didn't exceed the Reportable quantity of 100 lbs for hydrogen sulfide. The incident was initially reported as a potential exceedance of the 5000-lb Reportable Quanity (RQ) for flammable gas and the 100-lb Reportable Quantity (RQ) hydrogen sulfide (H2S). However, after further calculation, the total flammable gas emissions from this incident were not above the reportable Quantity. Additionally, the total hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions did not exceed the reportable quantity.
144085

2012-10-20
Point Source(s):
Sulfur Recovery Unit and Tail Gas Treating Unit

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

On October 20, 2012, Motiva Convent Refinery reported a potential sulfur dioxide (SO2) release which occurred at the facility due to an upset on the Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU) and Tail Gas Treating Unit (TGTU). The upset was caused by a trip on one of the unit's heaters causing elevated SO2 emissions.
The incident was initially reported as an exceedance of the 500 lb Reportable Quantity (RQ) for Sulfur Dioxide (SO2). However, after further calculation, the total SO2 emissions from this incident were not above the permitted limit.
143446

2012-10-01
Point Source(s):
Flare #2
VPS-2 supply line

Pollutant(s):
NOx - 10 pounds
Crude Oil - 3,100 gallons
Cause of Problem: Corrosion

The supply line for the VPS-2 atmospheric bottoms sample station was lined-up to the discharge of the atmospheric tower bottoms pump. The unit was in operation and the pump was online with a discharge pressure of approximately 145 PSIG. At approximately 4:00 am on October 1, 2012 the sample supply line was breached. The auto ignition temperature of this stream was approximately 500 deg F, and the operation temperature was 700 deg F. These conditions were enough to cause ignition and support the chemical reaction needed to sustain the fire. The piping where the fire began was inspected and a beach was found on top of the sample supply line. The breach consisted of a "flap" of metal which had separated from the pipe revealing a 1" by 1 3/4" opening. The A106B carbon steel piping of the sample line had been exposed to process material containing 4% sulfur, operating at 700 deg F, and had been so for a sufficiently long period creating sufficient conditions for the mechanism to occur. The change in metallurgy from the process line (9 Cr steel) to the sample station line (carbon steel) appears to have made the sample line piping more vulnerable to corrosion. Furthermore, a review of the incident revealed the root valves of the sample line were 12'-15' above grade and had to be accessed using a portable ladder. These valves were difficult to operate even when temporary access means were provided. A new sample schedule had been issued, requiring the sample to be taken twice a week, requiring even more access to the valves. The practice became to leave the valves open, thereby leaving the piping exposed to the corrosive environment. This ultimately accelerated the corrosion rate in the system.
The crude oil released during the fire that was deposited on the unit slab and nearby equipment. In addition, small particles of entrained oil in the fire water mist migrated downwind and deposited outside the unit boundary on Motiva propery. These off-unit areas were cleaned, excavated and/or immobilized/degraded. There were no oil residues from the fire observed off site. Site perimeter air monitoring was conducted for %O2, LEL, H2S, CO and SO2. All readings were normal ranges or non-detectable. Motiva Operations immediately initiated an unplanned but controlled shutdown of VPS-2. Excess process gases associated with the shutdown were routed to the refinery's flare system for destruction. The sample station and piping where the breach occurred has been removed and a review is being conducted site-wide for other locations that may have a similar threat/issue. Sample station design standards are being expanded to incorporate a strategy for managing the metallurgy of sample stations with respect to the metallurgy of the process line. In the 7-day letter, Motiva initially estimated the amount of crude oil released to be 6.5 bbls; they have now determined that 73.8 bbls were actually released during this incident. An estimated 68.6 bbls were consumed by the fire, 1.2 bbls released to the unit slab, and 4 bbls were released in areas downwind of the unit slab, but on Motiva property. On the LDEQ verbal report, it is noted that NOx exceeded reportable quantity and went to flare #2; this is not mentioned in any of the follow-up reports submitted by Motiva following this incident.
143440

2012-09-29
Point Source(s):


Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 1,075 pounds
Cause of Problem: No Information Given

Excess gas released to the flare.
s12-17286 Excess gas was flared, causing a release of sulfur dioxide. Approximately 1075 lbs of S02 was released- excess gas released to flare. No air monitoring was performed by the facility. They claim that everything has been secured. Verbal report only. Unable to find the refinery letter. Even though the facility did not classify the incident as above reportable quantity, the sulfur dioxide release exceeded RQ by 575 lbs. The reportable quantity for Sulfur dioxide is 500 lbs and the facility released 1075 lbs of S02.
142568

2012-08-30
Point Source(s):
Outfall 002

Pollutant(s):
Wastewater - BRQ
Stormwater - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Weather

Upset conditions which led to a LPDES bypass as a result of Hurricane Isaac and the associated internal facility flooding that occurred as a result.
The bypass consisted of excess stormwater mixed with process wastewater and was made to the LPDES permitted stormwater pond which discharged via Outfall 002 to the Ascension Ditch, to the St. James Canal, and then to the Blind River. The stormwater drainage system was still compromised by flooding conditions and Outfall 002 continued to discharge until 09/01/2012 at 8:30pm. They mention that complete details are provided in a written report submitted on 09/07/2012 but we were unable to find this report. The facility claims that all permit required analytical information for Outfall 002 were within permit limits in august and september. The results show that the bypass didn't cause a water quality violation, exceed any reportable quantity, or exceed any permit limit.
139974

2012-05-24
Point Source(s):
Flare #3

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 14,841 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Equipment Failure

During normal operation, two redundant level control valves on the bottom of 70F-107 failed, and liquid filled the vessel. This caused the pressure of the vessel to increase, resulting in the vessel's pressure relief device to open to the flare. Sent to Flare #3
Gases were contained in the Flare Gas Recovery system until maximum operating pressures of the system required the refinery to flare. The operating unit immediately reduced charge to minimize the generation of gas routed to the flare. Reactor temperatures and charge rates were reduced while maintenance repaired the two valves. Stable operations were established and the flaring ended. Manager bypassed the unit to stabilize the vessel. Fugitive emissions sent to Flare #3. Another follow-up report will be submitted at the conclusion of the investigation of the root cause and any appropriate modifications or adjustments.
139889

2012-05-18
Point Source(s):
HTU-2 Low Pressure Offgas Absorber

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 1,073 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Human Factors

On May 18, 2012, the 500 pound reportable quantity for sulfur dioxide was exceeded at Motiva Enterprises Convent Refinery in St. James Parish. Hydrogen sulfide was also released during this event. The incident occurred at Motiva's Convent Refinery on May 18, 2012 at approximately 2:59am and ended at approximately 4:02am. On the morning of May 18, 2012, the HTU-2 Unit was in the process of starting up, when H2S containing hydrocarbons entered the unit's low pressure fuel gas drum. The H2S containing hydrocarbons were then combusted in the West Side Refinery Fuel Gas combustion devices causing exceeedances of the SO2 RQ and maximum pounds per hour permit limits. No information is provided in addition to defining the causal factors of this incident human error.
This incident occurred on May 18, 2012. LABB could not locate the initial 7-day report required by law documenting this accident on EDMS. The only available report was the belated "60-day follow up report" dated March 19, 2013 (approximately 11 months after the accident). Immediately after the incident, operators initiated procedure GP058-Identifying the Source of H2S in Plant Fuel Gas to determine the source sending H2S containing hydrocarbon to the low pressure west fuel gas drum. This procedure requires operations personnel to conduct Sensidyne Sampling for H2S at potentially culpable sources. Additionally, amine circulation was immediately increased in all H2S absorber towers to cease H2S breakthrough in the event breakthrough was the cause of the event. Also at thi time, operators performed field walks on potentially affected units to identify any psv's lifting or incorrect line ups to the fuel gas system. Process engineering personnel concurrently began technical monitoring using Historian software to locate the source of the high H2S material. The sulfur dioxide emissions are reported as pounds per hour. The emissions occurred from 2:59am to 4:02am (1 hour and 3 minutes total).
139714

2012-05-14
Point Source(s):
Refinery Flare No. 3

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 3,662 pounds
Cause of Problem: Seal or Gasket

While making observation rounds on May 14, 2012, operations identified a pin hole leak on the valve body of 70LV-149 (H-Oil unit). The operator immediately opened the bypass and isolated the 149 valve to stop the leak. As the bypass is smaller than the normal routing, this caused levels to build in upstream equipment.
In order to prevent an unsafe condition from the elevated levels, operations stabilized the unit by flaring. Reactor temperature and charge rates were reduced in order to control the level in the unit while operating on the bypass. Gases were contained in the Flare Gas Recovery until maximum operating pressures of the system required the refinery to flare. Immediately, the operating unit reduced charge to minimize the generation of gas routed to the flare. Control valve 70-LV-149 was replace in-kind on May 16, 2012. As a systemic learning from this incident, a long term solution to future problems will involve conducting an investigation using a third party contractor to understand the potential erosion/corrosion mechanism involved with this valve's failure. Motiva will use the results of this investigation to determine if the metallurgy of control valve 70-LV-149 and the surrounding bleeder, block, and isolation valves are appropriate or should be upgraded. Approximately 3,162 lbs in excess of authorized SO2 emissions. Initial report states material went offsite.
138520

2012-04-03
Point Source(s):
Isolation valve

Pollutant(s):
Propylene - 89 pounds
Cause of Problem: Piping or Tubing

While working on the Alky splitter tower reflux pump, the technician loosened screws from a mounting plate connected to a pressure gauge. The tubing connection located upstream of the isolation valve failed and released hydrocarbon. The initial report from the facility stated that 178 pounds of propylene were released when a 1/2 inch tubing broke a reflux pump, but the release was later determined to be below reportable quantity.
No information given about remedial actions taken. The refinery letter stated that the incident was not reportable, and no injuries, fatalities, or road closures were associated with this incident.
137833

2012-03-12
Point Source(s):
Unit slab

Pollutant(s):
Wastewater - 60 gallons
Cause of Problem: Weather

On March 12, 2012, Motiva Convent Refinery reported an offsite discharge event due to a wastewater treatment bypass where during heavy rains approximately 60 gallons of wastewater overflowed a containment slab and flowed through the facility fenceline to a ditch that (while still on Motiva property) did not discharge through a monitored Outfall. The incident began at 08:05 AM and ended at 11:55 AM on March 12, 2012. The incident was caused when a surface drain could not keep up with the unusually high rainfall rate. A follow-up investigation revealed that the perimeter ditch outside of this fenceline redirects all possible fenceline discharges back into the facility via subsurface drainage for discharge through monitored Outfall 002 (stormwater). The source of the wastewater bypass consisted of contact stormwater from a waste container storage slab, which is normally routed to wastewater treatment for discharge through Outfall 001 (process wastewater), but instead entered the monitored Outfall 002 (stormwater) drainage system.
The release was halted when the rainfall slowed and the area pump could maintain drainage from the slab. Wastewater which exited the site could not be recovered.
137390

2012-02-21
Point Source(s):
FLARE: Unspecified flare

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - BRQ
Hydrogen Sulfide - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

There was an unexpected swing in the feed to the VPS-1 Unit causing an upset and flaring.
There is no information given regarding remedial actions taken.
137274

2012-02-17
Point Source(s):
uncompressed seal purge

Pollutant(s):
Flammable Gas - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Seal or Gasket

There was a leak from an uncompressed seal purge by the VPS-1 Unit.
They shut down and secured the unit. The incident was initially reported as an excess of the 1000 lb, RQ for compressed flammable gases. Further evaluation determined that the leak originated from an uncompressed seal purge and not the process stream.
137221

2012-02-16
Point Source(s):
FLARE: Unspecified flare

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 38,648 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - BRQ
Natural Gas - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Power Failure

There was a power interruption of two SRUs (#3 &4) causing a release of acid gas into the tail gas treating units and recovery unit which flared. Opacity limit in SRU #4 was exceeded for the permit. SO2 and H2S RQ were surpassed by lbs/hr on Refinery flare #3.
Air monitoring in the area detected no acid gas during the start up of the unit and values below action levels near the incinerator. All acid gas was out of the recovery system. The file is missing the incident report from the refinery.
136871

2012-01-31
Point Source(s):
Unspecified SRU

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 151 pounds
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

There was an upset on the SRU caused by an unexpected swing in the acid gas feed to the sulfur unit causing excess SO2 emissions.
The leak was secured and they went back to normal operation.