Geismar olefins plant restart postponed

The planned start-up of Williams Partners LP’s Geismar, La., olefins plant rebuild and expansion projects, has hit another delay, the company told investors in its latest quarterly earnings update for 2014 (OGJ Online, Apr. 10, 2012).

While the Geismar rebuild and expansion projects are now substantially complete, commissioning has been delayed to September following a decision to install certain safety-related equipment and to provide additional contingency associated with the start-up process, Williams Partners said.

The company previously announced it would delay the Geismar restart to late July from June following construction delays and cost increases specific to bringing the expanded, rebuilt plant back into service (OGJ Online, June 17, 2014).

Given the revised September start-up date, the company said it now expects first ethylene sales to begin in October.

The additional safety modifications for the Geismar rebuild will increase capital spending for the project by $20 million, according to Williams Partners.

In June, the company said delays already had increased the project’s cost to $715 million.

The company’s rebuild and expansion work at Geismar follows a June 2013 explosion that originated in the area of the plant’s propylene fractionator, killing two workers (OGJ Online, June 25, 2013; June 13, 2013).

Following the June blast, Williams Partners proceeded with repair and expansion work at Geismar for an initially planned restart in April (OGJ Online, Dec. 12, 2013).

The 600 million-lb/year Geismar expansion project will increase the plant’s ethylene production capacity to 1.95 billion lb/year from 1.35 billion lb/year, with Williams Partners’ share of the total capacity amounting to about 1.7 billion lb/year, the company said earlier this year.

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