LA Chem Plant Restarts after Explosion

Monday, February 16, 2015 @ 03:02 PM gHale

A Geismar, Louisiana, chemical plant nearly destroyed in a deadly June 2013 explosion and fire is back and producing ethylene, said Tulsa, OK-based Williams Partners.

Production comes after several delays while Williams worked at rebuilding and expanding the Geismar plant. Ethylene ends up used in petrochemical production for products like plastic and paint.

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“This is a significant milestone achievement in our effort to restore reliable operations at our plant for the benefit of our customers, employees, contractors and the community,” said John Dearborn, Williams’ senior vice president of NGL & Petchem Services.

Williams Partners plans to ramp up production up to 1.95 billion pounds of ethylene per year, the company said.

“I want to once again recognize our Geismar team for their dedication and perseverance throughout this complex rebuild and expansion effort,” Dearborn said.

The Geismar plant shut down after the June 13, 2013, accident that killed two workers, injured about 80 others and destroyed much of the facility.

The June 2013 explosion was the result of a rupture in a reboiler, according to reports. The resulting business interruption also cost Williams about $500 million, although the company received much of that back in insurance.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration initially cited Williams with six safety violations and proposed $99,000 in fines. The OSHA later reduced the most significant charge from a “willful” violation to a “serious” one and reduced the fines.

Williams Partners owns and operates numerous natural gas liquids and natural gas processing plants, as well as 33,000 miles in pipelines. Williams Cos. Inc. owns the general partner and controlling interest in Williams Partners.

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