Williams Partners assessing damage from gas processing plant explosion

Source:Williams Partners

The facility has been shut down since the incident occurred on April 23. (Photo by Rachel Anderson) Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) is deploying safety measures and performing initial assessment of damage in a small area of one of the five plants on its 160-acre Opal, Wyo., gas-processing facility that was directly affected by a fire last week.

In coordination with regulatory agencies, the company is assessing damage and developing preliminary plans to bring the other four plants back into service in a safe, systematic and timely manner. The capacity of the four undamaged plants totals 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day, which is sufficient to handle all of the natural gas currently available to the facility.

The facility has been shut down since the incident occurred at approximately 2 p.m. local time on April 23. There were no reported injuries or damage to property outside the facility. The plant's emergency procedures performed as designed.

The Opal Gas-Processing Plant has the capacity to process 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily via five turbo-expander cryogenic gas-processing units. Although the company has not yet made a full assessment of all plant equipment, the initial visual assessment of damage indicates that the impact was largely limited to a small area of the TXP-3 unit. At the time of the incident, it was one of the four units the plant had running to handle recent daily inlet volumes of approximately 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The fifth unit was idle, serving as excess capacity for the facility.

Information from the company's visual inspection of the damage area indicates that there was a release of natural gas that was subsequently ignited. The focus of the investigation will be on the cause of the release and source of ignition.

Company personnel are inspecting the damaged equipment in cooperation with regulatory authorities. The company plans a detailed assessment of damage, followed by development of plans to address the damaged equipment.

The company has insurance, subject to retentions (deductibles), for property damage and business interruption; it expects the coverage to mitigate the financial effects of the incident.

The company is working to address the needs of customers whose business is affected by the temporary shutdown of operations at the Opal facility.

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