Explosion rocks Williams’ Geismar, La., olefins plant

Williams Cos. Inc., Tulsa, reported an explosion occurred within its Geismar, La., olefins plant in Louisiana at 8:37 a.m. CST June 13.

Williams said emergency shutdown valves have been closed and the unit is isolated.

At the onset of the incident, Louisiana State Police, Ascension Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP), and Iberville OEP were notified. Both Ascension and Iberville OEPs activated their emergency alert systems.

“We are currently focused on the safety and well-being of our employees, contractors, and the local community who are responding to the situation,” Williams said in a press statement.

In April 2012, Williams Olefins LLC let a contract related to the expansion of is petrochemical plant at Geismar. The $350-400 million project, based on ethane available in growing amounts from unconventional oil and gas plays, is expected to boost ethylene capacity to 1.95 billion lb/year from 1.35 billion lb/year.

Williams said it is in the process of accounting for all of its personnel, adding that injuries have been reported, although the number and extent of those injuries is not known at this point.

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