US Williams shuts down natgas facility after explosion, fire

24 April 2014 18:11 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A fire is ongoing on Thursday at a Williams natural gas processing facility near in Lincoln County, Wyoming after an explosion, a county spokesman said.

The facility can process 1.5bn cubic feet (bcf)/day of natural gas gathered from wells in the area. It was shut down immediately after the explosion, which occurred on Wednesday at about 14:00 Wyoming time (20:00 GMT), Williams said.

There were no injuries in the incident. The nearby town of Opal, home to about 100 residents, was evacuated and the evacuation order will continue until the fire is out, Lincoln County spokesman Stephen Malik said.

Emergency personnel have no estimate on how long it will take to extinguish the fire, Malik said.

The area is being monitored for air quality, Malik said.

Williams had also been dealing with two other recent accidents.

A section of the Ohio Valley Midstream natural gas and condensate gathering pipeline system was shut down following a fire on a 12-inch pipeline on 5 April in Marshall County, West Virginia. Williams was able to reroute around the damaged pipeline and restore service 11 April.

No one was injured in the incident. Five homes in the area were evacuated for about 24 hours. Initial assessments noted damage to vegetation in an one-acre area. Williams is continuing to investigate the cause of the fire, the company said.

The investigation also continues into an explosion and fire on 31 March at an LNG facility along Williams' Northwest Pipeline near Plymouth, Washington. Although a cause is not yet known, the investigation is focused on a failed pressure vessel that removes carbon dioxide from natural gas prior to it being liquefied, Williams said.

One employee injured in the blast was released from the hospital 3 April and continues to recover, Williams said.

Efforts to transfer LNG from one of two storage tanks damaged by shrapnel in the blast continued as of Tuesday as did repairs to adjacent buildings. The pipeline system continues to operate and no interruptions to customers are expected, Williams said.

By Jessie Waldheim