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Operations Resume at Enterprise's Pioneer Processing Plant

Operations at the Pioneer cryogenic gas processing facility in Lincoln County, WY, resumed on Thursday following completion of repairs, according to owner Enterprise Products Partners LP.

Operations at the facility were suspended following a release of natural gas and subsequent fire in a small gas handling area within the plant on March 27 (see Daily GPI, March 31). No injuries resulted from the incident.

The Pioneer cryogenic facility is currently processing approximately 560 MMcf/d and extracting approximately 20,000 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGL), Enterprise said. Prior to the incident, the facility was processing about 550 MMcf/d and extracting approximately 26,000 b/d of NGL.

Located near the Opal Hub in southwestern Wyoming, Pioneer is designed to process up to 750 MMcf/d of natural gas and extract as much as 30,000 b/d of NGLs. NGLs extracted at Pioneer are transported on the partnership's Mid-America Pipeline and ultimately to Enterprise's NGL fractionators in Hobbs, NM, and Mont Belvieu, TX.

While repairs were being made natural gas was diverted to Enterprise's adjacent silica gel processing plant. Those volumes have now been redirected back to the cryogenic facility.

The fire came less than two months after Enterprise completed its long-awaited expansion of the Pioneer plant and began ramping up production at the facility (see Daily GPI, Feb. 7). At that time Enterprise said it intended to maintain the operational capability of the facility as a backup to provide producers with additional assurance of the partnership's processing capability at Pioneer.

The Pioneer plant expansion had been scheduled to be completed before the end of 2007, but Enterprise said the opening was delayed because it needed to address defective high-pressure valves and third-party engineering design problems (see Daily GPI, Jan. 29).

Enterprise purchased the original Pioneer plant for $38 million from Teppco Partners LP in April 2006 and immediately began work on an expansion (see Daily GPI, April 4, 2006). When purchased the plant's processing capacity was 300 MMcf/d.

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