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Shell Motiva release of carcinogenic chemical at Norco plant

By John Donovan

18 September 2011

Bloomberg has reported the release of a carcinogenic chemical –  butadiene – by Shell/Motiva at its Norco plant in Louisiana.

Butadiene is listed as a known carcinogen by the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry and the US EPA. At acute high exposure, damage to the central nervous system will start to occur. Symptoms such as distorted blurred vision, vertigo, general tiredness, decreased blood pressure, headache, nausea, decreased pulse rate, and fainting may be witnessed. As the exposure to butadiene occurs at a higher level and for a longer duration, the effects witnessed will become more serious. (INFORMATION FROM WIKIPEDIA)

The current incident follows Shell’s agreement in March 2010 to pay over  $3 million in civil penalties to the federal government as part of a Clean Air Act settlement and spend $6 million to install pollution control equipment at its refineries in Alabama and Louisiana to avoid such incidents.

Forbes: Shell refineries settle with government: Associated Press, 03.31.2010, 02:40 PM EDT

NASDAQ: Shell To Pay $9.5 Million In Settling Clean Air Act Allegations: Mar 31, 2010 | 3:00PM

Los Angeles Times: Shell refineries reach Clean Air Act settlements: By Associated Press March 31, 2010 | 12:02 p.m.


By David Wethe – Sep 18, 2011 4:24 PM GMT+0100

An unknown amount of butadiene and propylene were released into the air yesterday at the Norco plant in Louisiana run by Motiva Enterprises LLC, according to a filing to the National Response Center.

A clamp on a pipe at a chemical facility released the materials at 10:30 a.m. local time, according to the filing dated yesterday, which cited a report from an unidentified caller.

U.S. companies must notify the NRC if they release hazardous substances in excess of reportable quantities, according to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund. Motiva is a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

Bloomberg News couldn’t immediately verify that the information in the NRC filing was accurate.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Wethe in Houston at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at [email protected]


RELATED ARTICLE: Norco Plant Reports Accidental Chemical Release (Extract: NORCO, La. — An industrial plant in Norco has reported an accidental release of potentially toxic chemicals, though details on the amounts involved in the incident were not immediately available.

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