The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail
126.9 LBD – Shell Norco Chemical Plant West Site and Momentive Specialty Chemicals
The Shell Norco Chemical Plant West Site was built in 1955. The East and West plants together process gas feeds and liquid feeds to produce nearly 3 billion pounds of ethylene and 1.4 billion pounds of propylene per year. In addition, the Chemical plant produces approximately 350 million pounds of butadiene per year as well as secondary butyl alcohol and olefin cracker feedstocks. Momentive Specialty Chemicals, owned by Hexion, (when it was Resolution Performance Products) purchased Shell’s resin unit in 2000. It produces epoxy resins. Toxic Releases (TRI) for 2013 in pounds: Shell Norco Chemical Plant West Site: Air: 80,401; Water: 4,626. Momentive Specialty Chemicals: Air: 60,846.
126 LBD Motiva Enterprises, Norco Refining Dock 1, 2, 3 & 4
Motive occupies a number of docks between 125.6 and 125.4 LBD. No stopping anywhere along here. Keep a safe distance out from docking facilities.
126 LBD – Bayou Trepagnier
Bayou Trepagnier runs from the petrochemical complex next to Norco through the LaBranch wetlands and into Bayou LaBranch just before it enters Lake Pontchartrain. The Shell oil refinery (now Motiva) dumped wastewater into the bayou for approximately 60 years from the 1930’s to 1995. The contamination is extensive enough that a 5,500 foot stretch of the bayou starting at the petrochemical complex had to be completely filled in with clay and soil in an attempt to stabilize and lock the contamination in place. (Paul Orr)
125.5 LBD – Shell, Motiva, Valero, Union Carbide, and Rain CII
In 1916 the New Orleans Refining Company purchased 366 acres of rice, indigo, and sugar cane fields from the Good Hope Plantation and began operating it as an oil terminal later that year. In 1919, the company provided its employees with on-site living quarters, schools, and recreational facilities. As the town grew around the facility, it adopted the name Norco, which was the acronym for New Orleans Refining Company. In 1929 the facility was purchased by Shell.
The Shell Norco Chemical Plant East Site is situated on the upriver side of the Norco industrial complex. The East and West plants together process gas feeds and liquid feeds to produce nearly 3 billion pounds of ethylene and 1.4 billion pounds of propylene per year. In addition, the Chemical plant produces approximately 350 million pounds of butadiene per year as well as secondary butyl alcohol and olefin cracker feedstocks.
The Motiva Norco Refinery is a 50/50 joint venture between Shell and Saudi Refining. The refineries major refining units include Distilling, Catalytic Cracking, Catalytic Reformer, Alkylation, Hydrocracking, Hydrotreating, and Coking. Products processed or produced daily in the refinery include gasoline, jet-A aviation fuel, low sulfur diesel and anode grade coke. The refinery’s crude capacity is 235,000 barrels per day.
The Valero St. Charles Refinery, with initial construction beginning in the 1980’s, is one of the newest in the United States. It is situated on approximately 1,000 acres on the downriver side of the Norco industrial complex. The refinery processes approximately 300,000 barrels of oil per day producing gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, No. 2 and No. 6 fuel oils, heating oil, liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs) and petroleum coke.
Rain CII Carbon has a petroleum coke calcining plant adjacent to the Motiva Norco Refinery. The calciner was commissioned in 1965 by Kaiser Aluminum and produces calcined coke intended for aluminum smelter anode production. The facility has one rotary kiln with 230,000 ton/yr capacity. The green coke is supplied directly by Motiva Norco Refinery.
Praxair St Charles produces 135,000,000 cubic feet of hydrogen per day for use by Valero Refining St. Charles in their 60,000 barrel per day hydrocracker which produces low sulfur fuels.
Toxic Releases (TRI) for 2013 in pounds: Valero Refining St. Charles: Air: 958,827 Water: 31,878; Shell Norco Chemical Plant East Site: Air: 703,495; Motiva Norco Refinery: Air: 406,892; Water: 4,922; Rain CII Carbon: Air: 21,370; Praxair St Charles: Air: 11,554.
125 LBD Valero Refining Corp., Norco Refinery Dock No.1, 2, 3, 4, and 5
Valero occupies 5 docks between 125.3 and 124.8 LBD. No stopping anywhere along this stretch of river. Keep a safe distance out from docking facilities.
124.6 LBD – New Sarpy
Just on the other side of the sprawling facility from Norco, New Sarpy is located adjacent to the Valero oil refinery. After lightning ignited a poorly maintained gasoline tank that resulted in a 13 hour fire, residents of New Sarpy protested and demanded relocation. Rather than move the community the refinery launched a community improvement initiative which offered $25,000 home improvement loans forgivable over a 5 year period or smaller annual payments over the same period. This method of compensation resulted in a divided community, with some residents unsatisfied with the payoff and others decrying the protestors as standing between the money and their children’s Christmas presents. (Paul Orr)
124.5 RBD Beverly Industries, Hahnville Aggregate Yard Wharf
124.4 RBD T.T. Barge Mile 125 Barge Launch and Repair Wharf
Big oil and petrochem barges are constructed onshore at T.T. Barge Launch, and then set to sail via a massive dock/launching facility. This is a fascinating location. Paddlers attention might be attracted here by the bright lights and sparks of the intense welding and torch cutting. All barge construction is done en pleine aire, in a scene reminiscent of a combination of a barn building and Dante’s Inferno. Note: This location used to be considered mile 125, but as the river shifts so does the mileage AHP (above Head of Passes).