Williams Partners Begins Assessing Damage To Geismar Facility, Initiates Repair And Expansion Plans

Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) today announced that the initial damage assessment of the Geismar, La., olefins plant following an explosion and fire that occurred at the facility on June 13, 2013, is underway. The company has key personnel onsite to begin developing plans to make repairs, undertake a previously planned plant maintenance turnaround and complete a 600 million pound-per-year expansion of the olefins operation.

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

The plant remains shut down and the expansion work that was occurring is temporarily suspended. Neither the full extent of the damage nor the time needed to make repairs is known.

The following information is based on initial observations:
  • The explosion originated in the propylene fractionator area of the plant.
  • The piping, heat exchangers and reboilers in the area just adjacent to the propylene fractionator have been seriously damaged and will likely need to be replaced.
  • Sections of the electrical cable trays in the elevated portions of a pipe rack adjacent to the propylene fractionator tower sustained enough damage such that significant amounts of the electrical power cable and control wiring in the plant will need to be replaced.
  • 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 that will require the replacement of support structures and significant amounts of piping.

Other equipment will be evaluated when the company has access to the incident area.

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. At this time, there are no Williams employees hospitalized; one contract worker remains in the hospital.

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