US Williams developing repair plans in aftermath of Geismar blast

24 June 2013 16:07  [Source: ICIS news]

US Williams begins initial damage assessment after Geismar blastHOUSTON (ICIS)--Williams is developing repair plans following the 13 June explosion and fire at its Geismar olefins plant in Louisiana, the US producer said on Monday.

The plant remains shut down, and neither the full extent of the damage nor the time needed to make repairs is known at this time, Williams said.

Initial observations determined that the explosion originated in the propylene fractionator area of the plant.

Williams said it will likely need to replace “seriously damaged” piping, heat exchangers and reboilers near the propylene fractionator.

The company also need to replace “significant amounts” of electrical power cables and control wiring in the elevated portions of the pipe rack adjacent to the propylene fractionator tower.

Additionally, an approximately 50-foot section of the plant pipe rack containing portions of the plant steam system, pipeline ethane feed vaporization systems and fuel-gas conditioning equipment sustained damage, Williams said.

This will require the replacement of support structures and significant amounts of piping, it added.

Other equipment will be evaluated when Williams has accessed the area.

The company has personnel onsite to develop repair plans and undertake a previously planned maintenance turnaround, as well as complete a 600m lb/year expansion of the olefins operation, the company said.

Williams said it is cooperating with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) on their investigations into the cause of the incident.

“While the investigation and plans for repairs are underway, the company has been and remains focused on employees, contract workers and families personally affected by the event,” Williams said in a statement.

“At this time, there are no Williams employees hospitalised. One contract worker remains in the hospital,” it added.

Two people died as a result of the blast and fire, and more than 70 people were injured.

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By: Tracy Dang
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