WY Gas Plant Fire Still Burning

Thursday, April 24, 2014 @ 06:04 PM gHale

A fire continued to blaze at the Williams Companies Inc.’s natural gas processing plant in southwestern Wyoming Thursday, just one day after an explosion disrupted supplies in a hub in the Rockies.

Pipelines that run to the facility remained shut, halting the flow of 1 billion cubic feet per day of output, about a quarter of daily supply at the Opal, Wyoming gas hub, according to the company and the state pipeline authority.

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That grouping of five pipelines, including two owned by Kinder Morgan, and several processing plants move about 4-5 bcf/day of natural gas at this time of year, mostly to Western states.

There were no injuries and the cause of the fire remains unknown.

Williams sent employees to the plant to “secure and evaluate its operations,” it said in a statement. They will estimate how long the plant will end up shut down, it said.

“There is residual fuel inside the plant and that’s feeding the fire,” said George Angerbauer, a Williams spokesman at the site. “In stages, we will isolate the fire closer to its source and we expect it to burn out.”

This blast is the second explosion at a Williams plant in four weeks. A fire and explosion damaged the company’s liquefied natural gas facility in rural Washington state in late March.

Residents of nearby Opal, who evacuated after the fire and explosion broke out at 2 p.m. Wednesday, were able to come back home Thursday morning.

Williams’ Opal plant can produce about 2 percent of U.S. daily natural gas supply but has been running at less than full capacity, according to the company. It processes natural gas from local wells by stripping out impurities before dry gas injects into pipelines. Natural gas liquids go to different pipelines.

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