(Adds company comment, background)
April 28 Williams Partners LP said
Monday it plans to return to service the four undamaged units at
its natural gas processing plant in Opal, Wyoming, which shut
last week after an explosion and fire damaged one of the
facility's five units.
The company did not say precisely when the four units would
return to service but noted in a statement it was working with
regulators and developing "preliminary plans" to bring the units
back in a "timely manner."
Officials at the company were not immediately available for
The April 23 incident at Opal was the second explosion and
fire to shut a Williams gas facility in a month, leading some to
worry that incidents like these will make it tougher for the
industry to replenish stockpiles drained to critically low
levels after a brutal winter.
The capacity of the four undamaged units totals 1.1 billion
cubic feet of gas per day, which is sufficient to handle all
of the gas currently available to the facility, Williams said.
At the time of the explosion, the damaged unit was one of
four running to process about 1 bcf of gas. The fifth unit was
idle, the company said.
The facility has remained shut since the April 23 incident.
There were no reported injuries or damage to property outside
the 160-acre facility, the company said.
The Opal plant has the capacity to process 1.5 billion cubic
feet of gas daily when all five turbo-expander cryogenic
gas-processing units are operating.
The company also said it is working to address the needs of
customers whose business is affected by the temporary shutdown
of operations at Opal.
Separately, Williams said it continues in investigate the
cause of the March 31 explosion and fire that shut its liquefied
natural gas storage facility in Plymouth, Washington.
The company said it is focusing on a failed pressure vessel
that removes carbon dioxide from the gas prior to its being
The explosion of the vessel sent shrapnel across the
facility, including into one of the plant's two LNG tanks,
damaging at least the outer shell of the tank. The company said
it will confirm the integrity of the inner shell of the damaged
tank after it transfers the LNG to the undamaged tank.
Each tank at Plymouth is capable of holding 1.2 bcf of gas.
The company could not say when the Plymouth facility will
return to service noting the investigation "may continue for
several months" while site materials are submitted for analysis.
Oil and gas company Williams Cos Inc, of Tulsa,
Oklahoma, owns 66 percent of Williams Partners, including the
general-partner interest, the company said.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)