Home Search Emissions Pollutants About the Database


Shell Chemical East (26336), Norco

Releases in 2012

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source/Release CauseNotes
145447

2012-12-18
Point Source(s):
exchanger in GO-1 Process Unit

Pollutant(s):
Propane - 28,681
Propylene - 2,159
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

Propane and propylene were released to the atmosphere from a leaking exchanger in the GO-1 Process Unit.
The exchanger was isolated to stop leak source. Upon investigation into the leak it was determined that the exchange had a ruptured tube. Investigation into the cause of the rupture continues. The exchanger will be repaired before it is returned to service.
145423

2012-12-17
Point Source(s):
heat exchanger in the GO-1 Process Unit

Pollutant(s):
Propylene - 154 pounds
Propane - 12 pounds
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

Operations discovered a leak on a heat exchanger in the GO-1 Process Unit. The release began at 2100 hours on December 17, 2012 and ended at 1500 hours on December 18, 2012 for a duration of 18 hours.
Maintenance tightened bolts on the head of the exchanger and the leak stopped. Insulation on the exchanger head was removed and repairs were made to the exchanger. Follow-up letter reported that the reportable quantity for High Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds (propylene) was exceeded.
145352

2012-12-13
Point Source(s):
OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)

Pollutant(s):
1,3-Butadiene - 117 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide - 69 pounds
Carbon Monoxide - 378 pounds
Particulate Matter - 13 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 272 pounds
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

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.
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.
145259

2012-12-09
Point Source(s):
Pump 5016B

Pollutant(s):
Benzene - BRQ
Butadiene - BRQ
Ethylene - BRQ
Hexane - BRQ
Pentane - BRQ
Toluene - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Piping or Tubing

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.
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
Point Source(s):
WOGF, GO-1 EF

Pollutant(s):
1,3-Butadiene - 2,737 pounds
Benzene - 586 pounds
Ethane - BRQ
Ethylene - BRQ
Hydrogen Sulfide - BRQ
Nitrogen Oxide - 16,326 pounds
Propylene - 34,384 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide - 1,249 pounds
Propane - 2,588 pounds
Xylene - 18 pounds
Toluene - 41 pounds
Hexane - 733 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 40,725 pounds
Particulate Matter - 28,811 pounds
Carbon Monoxide - 88,834 pounds
Styrene - 8 pounds
Cause of Problem: Power Failure

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.
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.
145085

2012-12-02
Point Source(s):
OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)

Pollutant(s):
Carbon Monoxide - 176,543 pounds
NOx - 32,446 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 99,656 pounds
Butadiene - 6,341 pounds
Benzene - 2,859 pounds
Ethylbenzene - 508 pounds
Toluene - 1,969 pounds
Xylene - 1,016 pounds
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

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.
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.
144473

2012-11-06
Point Source(s):
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)

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

On 11/6/12, 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.
Once the upset occurred, GO-1 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 or maximum permitted limits were exceeded.
144310

2012-10-30
Point Source(s):
Olefin Flare

Pollutant(s):
Flammable Vapor - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Under Investigation

This was an anonymous citizen complaint. A caller called in to report a large cloud of black smoke coming from the facility. They observed an unusual flare with black smoke trailing towards the south, and there was a noxious smell. On October 30, 2012, Shell Chemical had a unit upset that led to flaring at one of the olefin flares. The complaint was seeing this flare process. The reason for the unit upset is under investigation.
Due to the incident still being under investigation, there is no information given concerning the pollutants released by this flare or what caused the unit upset to occur. LABB could not locate any refinery letter from Shell Chemical providing any follow up information concerning this complaint.
144282

2012-10-30
Point Source(s):
GO-1 and OL-5 Elevated Flare

Pollutant(s):
Ethylene - BRQ
Nitrogen Oxide - BRQ
Particulate Matter - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

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.
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
Point Source(s):
GO-1 Elevated Flare FE-602 (EPN 1-90)

Pollutant(s):
Carbon Monoxide - 3,001 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide - 552 pounds
Particulate Matter - 104 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide - 15,061 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 813 pounds
Hexane - 75 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 31 pounds
Cause of Problem: Corrosion

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
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.
143116

2012-09-19
Point Source(s):
Alkylate Unit

Pollutant(s):
Sour Water - BRQ
Cause of Problem: No Information Given

A citizen filed a complaint concerning Shell Chemical LP East releasing odors into the area on September 19, 2012. Davina Witte of the LDEQ spoke with Ninika Njali, Business Area Environmental Representative - Logistics with Shell Chemicals, via telephone on November 14, 2012. She said the only occurrence she found that might have caused an odor was a sour water leak at the Alkylate Unit. She explained that sour water is water that has come in contact with the process. She said it is mostly water with some hydrocarbon.
Ninika Njali said that the leak was contained to the slab, and it was all recovered. LDEQ performed surveillance of the area on 9/26/12 and 10/2/12. They did not detect an odor at the time of the inspections.
142287

2012-08-21
Point Source(s):
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)

Pollutant(s):
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons - BRQ
Nitrogen Oxide - BRQ
Hexane - BRQ
Ethylene - BRQ
Carbon Monoxide - BRQ
Benzene - BRQ
1,3-Butadiene - BRQ
Propylene - BRQ
Particulate Matter - BRQ
Sulfur Dioxide - BRQ
Toluene - BRQ
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

Flaring from the GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90) was a result of an unexpected shutdown of the propylene refrigerant compressor.
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
Point Source(s):
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)
GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90); Motiva West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84)

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 1,343 pounds
Carbon Monoxide - 1,366 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide - 251 pounds
Particulate Matter - 47 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 372 pounds
Hexane - 35 pounds
Cause of Problem: Equipment Failure

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).
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.
141821

2012-08-03
Point Source(s):
Flange in OL-5 Process Unit

Pollutant(s):
Benzene - BRQ
Hydrogen Sulfide - BRQ
Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

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.
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
Point Source(s):
GO-1 Process Unit tank

Pollutant(s):
Benzene - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Human Factors

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.
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
Point Source(s):
Pressure relief device on the GHT Process Unit

Pollutant(s):
Benzene - 10 pounds
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

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.
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.
140766

2012-06-23
Point Source(s):
GO-1 Pressure Relief Device
West Ops Ground Flare (EPN 9-84); GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)

Pollutant(s):
Ethylene - 8,663 pounds
Carbon Monoxide - 107,188 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide - 19,680 pounds
Particulate Matter - 3,708 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide - 3,663 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 51,011 pounds
1,3-Butadiene - 3,600 pounds
Benzene - 826 pounds
Hexane - 582 pounds
Toluene - 38 pounds
Styrene - BRQ
Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Process Upset

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.
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.
140715

2012-06-22
Point Source(s):

Motiva West Operations Ground Flare (EPN 9-84); GO-1 Elevated Flare (EPN 1-90)

Pollutant(s):
Ethylene - BRQ
Toluene - 0 pounds
Hexane - 4 pounds
Benzene - 3 pounds
1,3-Butadiene - 14 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 5,894 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide - 43 pounds
Particulate Matter - 353 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide - 1,875 pounds
Carbon Monoxide - 10,201 pounds
Propylene - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Instrument Failure

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.
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
Point Source(s):
Furnace in the OL-5 Process Unit

Pollutant(s):
Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons - 25 pounds
Butadiene - BRQ
Benzene - BRQ
Ethylene - BRQ
Propylene - BRQ
Sulfides - 0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 180 pounds
2-methylnaphthalene - 4 pounds
Naphthalene - 1 pounds
1-methylnaphthalene - 3 pounds
Cause of Problem: Seal or Gasket

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.
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.
139536

2012-05-08
Point Source(s):
Flare

Pollutant(s):
Unknown Substance - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Weather

State police officer called Shell chemical and found out that the bad weather that passed through Norco caused their CO heater to shut down. Once this happened Shell Chemical had to shut down units including the PGC Compressor for the OL-5 unit, because without the CO heater, there was not enough steam to operate the refinery. Shell Chemical has not confirmed definitely what cause the CO heater to shut down, but they believe either lighting struck the heater, or a temperature change caused problems.
This was a citizen complaint concerning black smoke coming off of a flare located in Norco, La. The facility has not reported any quantities being exceeded.
139194

2012-04-26
Point Source(s):
West Operation Elevated Flare (EPN 5-84)

Pollutant(s):
Unknown Substance - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

On April 26, 2012, Shell Chemical made a notification of flaring of unknown materials at the West Operations Elevated Flare (EPN 5-84). The flaring was a result of maintenance work on a ground flare that resulted in re-routing of routine vents to the flare. Investigation into the flaring confirmed that only routine permitted vents were going to the flare at the time.
Two block valves had to be adjusted and that stopped the flaring. Initial report states material went offsite. Air monitoring was conducted around the perimeter of the facility which showed no elevated levels of pollutants. Flares were reported to be back to normal at 23:57 hours.
138080

2012-03-18
Point Source(s):
Utility Boiler #10

Pollutant(s):
Black Smoke - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Equipment Failure

A resident of the Norco community called and reported to the Shell East Site Supervisor that smoke was sighted in the air above the refinery and inquired as to the seriousness of the issue. Shell was aware of the upset of Utility Boiler #10. Operations personnel were in the process of shutting down the pyrolysis pitch system due to a failed transmitter.
Upset of Utility Boiler #10 and black smoke sighting was called and reported to Shell East Site and Shell East Site Supervisor. Shell attempted to put this incident in Shell Chemical LP-Norco Chemical Plant-West site. Smoke caused by their process of putting pyro pitch in boiler. For unknown reason it started the black smoke. When pitch was removed, smoke ceased. There were no materials released from the incident above a reportable quantity and no permit limits were exceeded.The initial report states the material did go offsite.
137810

2012-03-12
Point Source(s):
OL-5 Elevated Flare FE-101 (EPN 6-84); OL-5 Ground Flare FG-101 (EPN 7-84)

Pollutant(s):
Carbon Monoxide - 523 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide - 96 pounds
Particulate Matter - 18 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 250 pounds
Butadiene - 16 pounds
Benzene - 13 pounds
Ethylbenzene - 1 pounds
Toluene - 9 pounds
Xylene - 5 pounds
Cause of Problem: Instrument Failure

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).
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.
137608

2012-02-29
Point Source(s):
OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)

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

Shell Chemical's OL-5 Unit's Converter and Product Hydrogen Methanators shutdown due to a high level in the crude hydrogen drum. This led to flaring of unmethanated hydrogen at the OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84).
The crude hydrogen level was lowered. The methantators were safely returned to normal conditions and flaring was stopped. Initial report states there was offsite impact.
137093

2012-02-09
Point Source(s):
F-131 in the GO-1 Process Unit

Pollutant(s):
Benzene - BRQ
Hydrocarbon - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Piping or Tubing

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.
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.
136804

2012-01-28
Point Source(s):
OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84)

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

On January 28, 2012 Shell Chemical's OL-5 Process Unit experienced an upset. This upset led to a false indication that there was flaring of acid gas at the OL-5 Elevated Flare (EPN 6-84). OL-5 experienced an unexpected high level in the DEA Stripper column trays due to plugging which carried over to the DEA accumulator. The elevated level in the accumulator forced a high pressure indication in the DEA overhead system and caused the flare valve to open to safely relieve the pressure on the system (as designed). However the liquid buildup in the overhead system due to this upset prevented any acid gas from being vented through the control valve to the flare. A review of the process data during the upset indication was a result of high liquid level in the overhead system.
It was confirmed that although the control valve had opened to the flare, no flaring through this path was possible as the overhead system was liquid full. The flare was smoking for 0 minutes according to Shell's initial and follow up reports. Once it was determined that the DEA Stripper was plugged and causing the flooding conditions in the overhead system, OL-5 Operations lowered the heat on the column and pumped the level in the accumulator down to lower the pressure indication/close the vent valve and stabilize the system. The DEA treatment system was shutdown and decontaminated for maintenance to completely clean the system. The cleaning removed plugging issues that lead to the unexpected flooding and high pressure indication in the overhead system. The DEA treatment system was safely returned to normal operating conditions once the cleaning activities were completed. Initial State Police Hazmat Hotline report states there was offsite impact, and up to time of call and 24-hour update there was still minor and occasional flaring. Shell's Notification Release Form states that occasional flaring may occur until system was returned to normal conditions.
136479

2012-01-12
Point Source(s):
Relief valve in the OL-5 Process Unit

Pollutant(s):
Benzene - 56 pounds
Xylene - 6 pounds
Hexane - 0 pounds
Toluene - 18 pounds
1,3-Butadiene - 1 pounds
Styrene - 5 pounds
Ethylbenzene - 2 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - 53 pounds
Cause of Problem: Equipment Design

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.
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.