An unexpected maintenance setback in the final stages of start-up at Williams Partners LP’s newly rebuilt Geismar, La., olefins plant has led to another month-long delay for sales of ethylene production from the site (OGJ Online, June 12, 2013).
The company halted final ramp-up procedures at the plant after discovering that a brazed-aluminum heat exchanger had become plugged and required cleaning and maintenance, Williams Partners said.
With the unplanned maintenance work now completed, the plant is scheduled to resume commissioning activities as of Feb. 3, the company said.
As a result of the interruption, however, the start of ethylene sales from the plant has been pushed back to February from the company’s previously announced target of January (OGJ Online, Dec. 31, 2014).
While Williams Partners provided no specific date on which sales might begin this month, the partnership did confirm it would provide an update on the status of plant operations on or before its Feb. 19 scheduled conference call with investors.
The revamped and rebuilt Geismar plant has faced a series of delays related to the implementation of about $20 million in additional safety and maintenance upgrades included in the project as the company redoubled its efforts to safeguard operations after a 2013 explosion at the site (OGJ Online, Dec. 2, 2014).
Once fully commissioned, 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.