US Williams ‘confident’ Geismar cracker will restart by April 2014

13 September 2013 02:42 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Williams Partners is feeling “more and more confident” about its 1 April 2014 restart date for its expanded Geismar, Louisiana, ethane cracker as it makes repairs from the 13 June explosion at the plant, the CEO of the US-based company said on Thursday.

“Every day that goes by, I will tell you that another issue of risk goes away. … I would tell you that our April 1 date assumed a lot of worst-case situations – and a lot of those worst-case issues are being resolved,” said chief executive Alan Armstrong, who made his comments to at the 2013 Barclays Capital CEO Energy-Power Conference in New York City.

Two people died and more than 70 were injured on 13 June after a propylene fractionator exploded at the Williams Olefins plant.

Investigations by the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) and the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA) are also winding down, Armstrong said.

“Both OSHA and the Chemical Safety Board are also about done with their work onsite as well, and that’s allowing us to get back into some of the affected areas and get on with repairs in the area,” he said.

The plant had been in a turnaround to add capacity to the then-612,000 tonnes/year facility, which had been annually producing 1.3bn lb (590,000 tonnes) of ethylene and 90m lbs of polymer-grade propylene (PGP), according to the company’s website.

When it restarts, the plant will have a capacity of 885,000 tonnes/year, Williams has said.

By Jeremy Pafford