Williams plans to simplify its organizational structure and consolidate the number of areas it operates — from five to three — by early 2017, the company said Wednesday. The move is intended to capitalize on growing demand for natural gas.

The three new operating areas will be named Atlantic-Gulf, West and Northeast Gathering & Processing.

“Williams is executing on a clearly articulated strategy to capitalize on growing natural gas demand to drive further value for stockholders, and to achieve maximum benefit, we must continually refine the way we operate the business,” said CEO Alan Armstrong. “The initiatives announced today will advance our strategy by optimizing our reporting structure.

“Our team is fully aligned, energized and focused on executing against our business plan, reducing costs, simplifying the way we make decisions, and building on our industry-leading customer service.”

According to Williams, the new Atlantic-Gulf Operating Area will absorb the current operations of the NGL & Petchem Services Operating Area, and it will handle natural gas liquids (NGL) and petrochemical operations in the Gulf area. It will include the company’s Geismar olefins plant (see Daily GPI, Sept. 7), a refinery-grade propylene splitter and regional pipelines, including the 10,200-mile Transco interstate pipeline system. Atlantic-Gulf will also include natural gas gathering and processing and crude oil production, handling and transportation services in the Gulf Coast region, and will continue to be led by Rory Miller.

Meanwhile, the new West Operating Area will gain the operations of the current Central Operating Area, which includes all gathering, operations and commercial activities in the Barnett, Eagle Ford and Haynesville shales, plus the Midcontinent and the Permian Basin. It will also include the Northwest Pipeline interstate gas pipeline system, as well as gathering, processing and treatment operations in Wyoming, the Piceance Basin and the Four Corners area.

Williams said an NGL fractionator and storage facilities near Conway, KS, will also be consolidated into the West Operating Area, as will a rail loading facility at Hutchinson, KS. The company’s 50% equity interest in the Overland Pass Pipeline (see Daily GPI, Sept. 10, 2010) and its 50% non-operated interest in the Delaware Basin gas gathering system in the Permian Basin will also be operated from the West, which will be led by Walter Bennett.

In the new Northeast Gathering & Processing Operating Area, operations in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will remain unchanged. The operating area will include the Susquehanna Supply Hub and Ohio Valley Midstream, as well as the company’s 69% equity interest in Laurel Mountain Midstream and its 58.4% stake in Caiman Energy II. Caiman, in turn, owns a 50% interest in Blue Racer Midstream (see Shale Daily, Oct. 29, 2015). The operating area will continue to be led by Jim Scheel.