Williams boosts gas plant capacity


A unit of Williams's energy services business has completed a $60 million expansion at a natural gas plant in Opal, Wyo.


A unit of Williams's energy services business has completed a $60 million expansion at a natural gas plant in Opal, Wyo.

The project has increased cryogenic processing capacity to 735 MMcfd and NGL extraction capacity to 43,000 b/d. A third cryogenic processing train was added, two existing cryogenic trains were modified, and control systems and field compression were enhanced.

In 1998, field partners McMurry Oil Co., Amoco Production Co., and a unit of Williams selected Williams' Opal plant to process new volumes of natural gas from the Jonah field in Sublette County, Wyo. Installation of the new cryogenic unit began in May 1999. Williams initiated start-up operations Mar. 15 and is finalizing details to reach full operational capacity.

Williams said the completed expansion makes the facility one of the largest NGL producers in the US.

"The new cryogenic turboexpander unit alone can process 350 MMcfd of natural gas and extract more than 20,000 b/d of gas liquids such as ethane, propane, and butane," said Alan Armstrong, vice-president of gathering and processing for Williams' midstream group. "The technology makes Opal an extremely efficient plant and gives our customers an opportunity to obtain additional value from the gas stream. For example, we believe we're going to see a 90% ethane recovery rate in the new train."

Liquids from the Opal plant can be fed into a 412-mile pipeline, completed in November 1999, to tie in to a Williams Rockies-region NGL pipeline system for ultimate delivery to Gulf Coast destinations.

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