Williams, Opal Gas Plant, Wyoming. | Source: williams.com
Employee dies at natural gas processing plant in Wyoming
Posted 12:43 pm, September 14, 2016, by David Wells
Authorities say a pipe burst shortly before a worker was found dead Wednesday at the Williams Opal natural gas processing plant in Lincoln County.
Officials don't know yet what caused the death of the 36-year-old employee. His identity has not yet been released.
"Preliminary reports suggest that a pipe burst near the deceased," said Haylee McKee, spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. "An employee on scene also reported a cloud of natural gas. Cause of death will be determined by the coroner."
An investigator from the Wyoming Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been on scene since Wednesday evening. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is also conducting an investigation. Messages left at the Sherriff's office Wednesday and Thursday were not returned.
The plant was still offline Thursday morning, according to a company spokeswoman. Counseling services are being offered to the plant's employees.
Williams Opal confirmed in a statement that there had not been an explosion or fire at the plant Wednesday. Two years ago, a large explosion at the plant ignited a fire that burned for 5 days. The explosion, on April 23, 2014, forced the evacuation of the small town of Opal. No one was hurt in that incident.
OPAL, Wyo. — An employee of the Williams Opal natural gas processing plant in Opal, Wyoming died early Wednesday morning at the plant.
According to a news release from Williams, there was not an explosion or a fire at the plant, and there is no threat to the surrounding area.
The employee’s cause of death is under investigation and the appropriate regulatory agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, have been notified.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and want to express our deepest condolences to his family,” said Dan Kalan, senior operations manager with Williams, in the news release.
The plant was taken offline and the site where the death occurred has been secured as authorities conduct an investigation into the death. Counselors will be available for the deceased employee’s coworkers.
The deceased has not been identified.
State investigators were en route to the plant Wednesday afternoon, said Haylee McKee, a spokeswoman for the Department of Workforce Services. The agency oversees the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The agency did not expect to have information to share with the public until midday Thursday.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office did not return messages seeking comment.
This is the second energy industry death in Wyoming this summer. In July, a 28-year-old oil rig worker fell from a derrick in Midwest. That death is still under investigation by state regulators.
An employee of the Williams Company died at its natural gas processing plant in Opal on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.
“Early morning Sept. 14, the Williams Opal natural gas processing plant in Lincoln County Wyoming reported the death of an employee at its Opal, Wyoming complex,” Sara Delgado said, reading from a prepared statement.
“The cause of the death is under investigation and the appropriate regulatory agencies have been notified. There was no explosion nor fire at the plant and there is no threat to the surrounding area,” Delgado said.
In the statement, Williams’ senior operations manager Dan Kalan said, “’We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and want to express our deepest condolences to his family.'”
The plant is offline at this time and the site where the death occurred has been secured, Delgado said.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified.
“Our top priority right now is to keep the site secure and conduct a thorough investigation, working in coordination with the proper authorities. Counselors have been contacted to be available for Williams employees at the Opal plant,” she said.
In April 2014, an explosion at the plant forced the evacuation of the 95 residents of the town of Opal. Residents of the town, about 15 miles east of Kemmerer, were allowed to return to their homes a day later.
No injuries were reported in that incident.
Opal, Wyoming update
Investigation Underway into Employee Death at Williams Opal Natural Gas Processing Plant; Facility Offline
Early morning Sept. 14, the Williams Opal natural gas processing plant in Lincoln County Wyoming reported the death of an employee at its Opal, Wyoming complex.
The cause of the death is under investigation and the appropriate regulatory agencies have been notified. There was no explosion nor fire at the plant and there is no threat to the surrounding area.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and want to express our deepest condolences to his family,” said Dan Kalan, senior operations manager with Williams.
The plant is offline at this time and the site where the death occurred has been secured. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified.
Our top priority right now is to keep the site secure and conduct a thorough investigation, working in coordination with the proper authorities. Counselors have been contacted to be available for Williams employees at the Opal plant.
Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:56pm EDT
Explosion shuts large natural gas processing plant in Wyoming
An explosion on Wednesday shut a natural gas-processing plant in Wyoming that can churn out about 2 percent of the daily U.S. gas supply, and a nearby town was evacuated though no injuries were reported.
The blast at the Williams Companies Inc plant in Opal, Wyoming, touched off a fire that was still burning several hours later, company spokeswoman Michele Swaner said.
She said all 42 employees of the plant had been accounted for and were not injured. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department said the fire had been contained to one area of the plant. Shelters were set up for people in the town of 100 people and nearby Highway 30 was closed.
The explosion, at least the second safety incident suffered by Williams Companies in the last few weeks, could affect prices on Thursday when the market starts trading for gas to be delivered on Friday.
The Williams plant feeds into the Opal Hub, a crossroads for five pipelines that connect to California, Oregon and Canada and head east across the Rocky Mountains. Gas at the Opal Hub for Thursday delivery rose 6 cents to $4.63 per million British thermal units.
Wyoming and U.S. regulators were not available to comment or say if gas flows at the Hub would be affected. Utilities used a record amount of gas this past winter to meet heating needs during unusual cold snaps that caused volatile prices and left stockpiles at their lowest level since 2003.
A string of accidents involving the country's overburdened pipeline and rail infrastructure has prompted new safety concerns as U.S. output of oil and gas surges during an unprecedented boom.
On March 31, a pipeline within its liquefied natural gas facility in Washington exploded and shrapnel from the blast caused a leak in one of two liquefied natural gas tanks, prompting evacuation orders near the plant outside the rural town of Plymouth.
On April 7, a Williams unit said that a gas gathering pipeline in West Virginia caught fire.
Williams operates two natural gas processing plants in Wyoming which remove liquids and other impurities from natural gas to allow it to be transported in large pipelines.
Gas comes to the processing plants from the Williams gathering system, a network of 3,500 miles of pipelines which collect gas produced in the region.
The Opal processing plant has capacity of 1.5 Bcf/day. That is about 2 percent of U.S. daily gas supply of some 70 Bcf/d.
Including the Echo Springs processing plant, which was not affected by the explosion, the combined daily capacity of the two plants is more than 2.2 Bcf/d of natural gas and nearly 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) of natural gas liquids.
Wyoming leads the nation in coal production and is also a top gas producer. Wyoming accounted for more than 7 percent of U.S. marketed gas production in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Eileen O'Grady; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Sandra Maler)
- The Wamsutter and southwest Wyoming areas with approximately 3,500 miles of gathering pipelines with a capacity of more than 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) and more than 3,500 receipt points
- The Opal and Echo Springs processing plants in Wyoming, which have a combined daily inlet capacity of more than 2.2 Bcf/d of natural gas and nearly 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) of NGL production capacity
- The Willow Creek processing plant in Western Colorado, which has processing capacity of 450 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd) and NGL production capacity of 30,000 bpd
- The Parachute Plant Complex and three other treating facilities in western Colorado with combined inlet capacity of 1.4 Bcfd. These facilities are connected to more than 3,300 wells via a gathering system with approximately 300 miles of pipeline, ranging up to 30-inch trunk lines
- The Parachute Lateral, a 38-mile, 30-inch diameter line transporting gas from the Parachute area to the Greasewood hub and White River hub in northwest Colorado
- PGX Pipeline, a pipeline that transports NGLs from the Parachute area to a major NGL transportation pipeline system
- Overland Pass, which includes a 760-mile NGL pipeline from Opal, Wyo., to the Mid-Continent NGL market center in Conway, Kan., along with 150- and 125-mile extensions into the Piceance and Denver-Julesburg Basins in Colorado, respectively
- The Four Corners system in New Mexico and Colorado, which is comprised of 3,800 miles of gathering lines, nearly 6,500 receipt points and three natural gas processing and/or treating plants. The plants have the combined inlet capacity of 1.4 Bcfd of natural gas and can produce 41,000 bpd of NGLs
- The Mid-Continent Fractionation and Storage complex near Conway, Kan., which consists of a network of interconnected underground caverns that hold large volumes of NGLs and other hydrocarbons and have an aggregate capacity of approximately 20 million barrels