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No Injuries From Texas Panhandle Gas Plant Explosion

Eagle Rock Energy Partners LP said there were no injuries or fatalities from Monday afternoon's explosion and subsequent fire at a natural gas processing facility in the Texas Panhandle, and has launched an investigation into the incident.

Jeff Wood, Eagle Rock's senior vice president and CFO, told NGI that the Phoenix-Arrington Ranch facility -- located near Canadian, TX, in Hemphill County -- is manned 24 hours a day and normally has about five or six employees onsite at any given time. He said "one or two contractors and some employees" were onsite at the time of the explosion, 3 p.m. CDT.

"We did have workers around the facility. Fortunately no one was hurt," Wood said Tuesday. He added that the fire that followed the explosion has since burned itself out. "The crew onsite shut off all the inlet gas into the plant and just allowed the existing gas that remained in the plant to slowly burn off."

Wood said the facility's processing capacity was 80 MMcf/d, but it was operating at about 75% capacity (60 MMcf/d) at the time of the explosion. He said the Houston-based partnership was currently looking into ways to divert gas elsewhere for processing.

"Our other processing facilities in the area are relatively full, so to the extent that we can divert gas to other facilities of ours we will do that," Wood said. "We're also looking at potential offload arrangements with other processors in the area."

In a statement, the company said damage to the facility was concentrated at the inlet header system, the primary receipt point for raw natural gas gathered from the field. Eagle Rock said it believes the damage was limited to the inlet header system and did not extend to the facility's cryogenic unit or processing towers.

"We've got a full investigation team on the ground sent up from Houston," Wood said. He added that there was currently no timetable for the facility -- which the company said generated approximately $3 million per month in gross margin -- to possibly be repaired and reopened.

Eagle Rock purchased the Phoenix facility for $24.3 million from CenterPoint Energy Field Services Inc. in October 2010 (see Daily GPI, Oct. 5, 2010). The plant was part of a $27.5 million deal to purchase it and other infrastructure.

Startup operations at Phoenix, which was designed to service the Granite Wash formation, were also completed in October 2010. The Arrington System consists of 537 miles of natural gas gathering pipeline that connects to the Phoenix plant.

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