Williams delays Geismar plant restart

Williams Partners LP, of which Williams, Tulsa, is a general partner, has postponed until July the planned June start-up of its Geismar, La., olefins plant rebuild and expansion projects, the company told investors in a recent financial guidance update for 2014 (OGJ Online, Apr. 10, 2012; Jan. 4, 2012).

The postponement has resulted from delays and construction cost increases specific to work to bring the expanded, rebuilt plant back into service, Williams Partners said.

While the plant’s restart will be initiated in late July, the company said it expects ethylene sales to begin in mid-August.

Williams Partners also said it expects the delays related to the Geismar expansion have increased capital spending for the project by $65 million to $715 million.

The company’s rebuild and expansion work at Geismar follows a June 2013 explosion that originated in the area of the plant’s propylene fractionator, killing two workers (OGJ Online, June 25, 2013; June 13, 2013).

Following the June blast, Williams Partners proceeded with repair and expansion work at Geismar for an initially planned restart in April (OGJ Online, Dec. 12, 2013; Aug. 6, 2013).

The 600 million-lb/year Geismar expansion project will increase the plant’s ethylene production capacity to 1.95 billion lb/year from 1.35 billion lb/year, with Williams Partners’ share of the total capacity amounting to about 1.7 billion lb/year, the company said in an Apr. 30 release announcing its first-quarter 2014 earnings.

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