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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #134290
State Police #11-06069
Accident Date2011-09-29
Report Date 2011-10-27
Follow-up Date 0000-00-00
Follow-up: No

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Nitrogen Oxide4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NOYESYES63.9 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NOYESNO8,325.1 pounds
Carbon Monoxide4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NOYESNO347.4 pounds
Particulate Matter4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NOYESNO12.0 pounds
1-Butene4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES2.4 pounds
Benzene4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES4.4 pounds
1,3-Butadiene4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES0.1 pounds
Methane4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401YESNOYES88.4 pounds
Ethane4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES53.6 pounds
3-Methyl-1-Butene4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES0.2 pounds
Cyclohexane4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES2.9 pounds
cis-2-Butene4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONONO0.6 pounds
Ethylene4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES7.1 pounds
Isobutane4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES2.1 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES1.6 pounds
Isopentane4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES1.0 pounds
n-Butane4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONONO5.4 pounds
n-Pentane4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONONO1.7 pounds
Propane4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES6.3 pounds
Propylene4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONOYES15.7 pounds
trans-2-Butene4 h 42 mCoker Flare FE-401NONONO0.7 pounds

Accident Classified As: Reportable Quantity

Cause of Problem: Equipment Failure

While starting the Coker Jet Pump on 9/29/11 at 6:45pm, the electrical breaker at Motiva's Coking Unit tripped de-energizing the Motor Control Center. Consequently, the Coker Wet Gas Compressor tripped offline therefore resulting in unit flaring and operating in hot circulation mode. Hot circulation mode is an operating mode in which the unit recycles feed at high temperatures. This mode of operation lessens the amount of flaring in comparison to a complete unit shutdown. The initial inspection of the Jet Pump revealed that the auto-transformer serving as a soft start for this pump had failed causing the electrical breaker to trip open. Once repairs were completed, the Coker Unit was safely re-started and flaring stopped.

Discharge Preventable - Yes

Motiva has determined that this event was not preventable due to the design configuration and failure mechanism.

Notes/Remedial Actions

Immediately, Operations placed the furnace F-125 in hot steam standby and brought the Coker Unit into hot circulation mode to prevent additional flaring of non treated gas. Norco maintenance personnel were called out to troubleshoot the trip of the Coker Wet Gas Compressor and related equipment. The auto-transformer was removed from the circuit. Relay coordination was modified in order to protect the new circuit. After troubleshooting, maintenance personnel determined that operations could safely re-start the Coker Process Unit. During this time the Coker Wet Gas Compressor was restarted and flaring stopped. By 12/31/11 a study will be completed to determine whether the auto-transformer can be permanently removed from the system. After this study is completed, a strategy will be created to address the required changes. This action will be completed by 3/31/12. Calculations confirm that the reportable quantity for sulfur dioxide was exceeded as well as the permitted maximum pound per hour emission limits for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, VOC's, 1,3 butadiene, and benzene as a result of the release.