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Fire At Opal Natural Gas Plant Extinguished

Rachel Anderson

The Williams company is working to get its natural gas processing plant in Opal back up and running after an explosion and fire shut it down last week. The fire burned for five days, finally running out of fuel on Monday afternoon. In a press release, the company said it believes only one of the plant’s four units was damaged in the accident. Two of the units were back online Thursday morning.

Brian Jeffries, with the Wyoming Pipeline Authority, says the week-long outage at the plant hasn’t had a big impact on the overall natural gas market. He says most of the 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas the plant had been processing was diverted to other plants in the area.

“In this particular case, gas in [the] Jonah and Pinedale [fields] has more alternative choice as to processing plants than perhaps the average source of gas does,” Jeffries says.

The remaining volume of gas is a relatively small amount in the larger scheme of things.

“300 million a day of demand change would on the order of the difference between a day when the high is 40 degrees in Denver versus 20 degrees,” he add.

Jeffries says most of the gas from the plant had been going to California, and because that state receives gas from so many different regions, accommodating the change in supply was likely easier than in more isolated areas.

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