Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) and Williams (NYSE:WMB) reported an explosion and fire at approximately 2 p.m. Mountain Time at their natural gas processing facility in Lincoln County, Wyo., near the town of Opal. There were no reported injuries or damage to property outside the facility.
The facility was immediately shut down and emergency procedures were activated. All personnel were safely evacuated from the facility. First-responders evacuated an area that includes the town of Opal and closed Highway 30 in proximity to the plant. Williams is making accommodations for the displaced residents.
The company's top priority right now is ensuring the safety of our employees and surrounding community, as well as cooperating with the local authorities and regulatory agencies.
Natural-gas gathering from surrounding producing areas is temporarily suspended as a result of the incident. The company is evaluating alternatives so that natural gas production can resume as soon as possible.
The Opal facility processes natural gas gathered from wells in the area in preparation for interstate natural gas pipeline transport. It also produces natural gas liquids from the natural gas. The Opal plant has an inlet capacity of 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Recent daily volumes have been approximately 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The incident is known to have affected TXP-3, one of the five cryogenic processing trains that comprise the Opal facility. It is too early to determine the extent of damage to the facility or a timeline for return to service. Once it is safe to return to the plant, Williams will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident in cooperation with regulators.