Two weeks after the Opal, WY, natural gas processing facility and major gas hub was shuttered due to an explosion and fire, capacity has returned to previous levels of about 1.1 Bcf/d, Williams Partners LP said Tuesday.
The facility was closed on April 23 following a fire at one of five cryogenic processing trains (see Daily GPI, April 24). Two of the five trains with combined processing capacity of 395 MMcf/d were back online within a week (see Daily GPI, May 1).
According to NGI’s Opal Daily Gas Price index, next-day gas prices inched higher during the outage but fell far short of a spike.
NGI’s Opal index, which also includes trades at the Muddy Creek Compressor station and the Pioneer, Hams Fork and Roberson Creek receipt points along Kern River Pipeline, averaged $4.60 the day before the incident. During the outage, the Opal average peaked at $4.73, but it was back to averaging $4.59 on Monday for gas delivery Tuesday.
“The Rockies contributes quite a bit less gas than the region did just a few years ago as it has been displaced by gas that has come online from the various unconventional plays across the country, most notably the Marcellus Shale,” said Pat Rau, NGI director of strategy and research. “The nation now relies on that area less than it once did, so losing a few days of gas from Opal didn’t send prices skyward.”
Four trains now are in operation, while the damaged unit remains out of service. Damage was limited to a “small area” of TXP-3.
“The total capacity of the four operating trains is sufficient to meet customer needs,” the partnership said. “The two units most recently placed back in service, TXP-4 and TXP-5, have a combined design processing capacity of 700 MMcf/d. TXP-4 was idle at the time of the incident, serving as excess capacity for the facility.”
Williams and the partnership, in coordination with regulatory agencies, continue to investigate the incident.
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