Natural-gas processing plant at full capacity, Williams says

Williams is now operating at full capacity for natural gas processing at its new Willow Creek plant in Rio Blanco County, the company says.

Williams said in a news release that its $360 million plant began operations Aug. 7. It has since achieved full processing capacity of 450 million cubic feet per day.

Although the plant is moving as much gas through its system as it can handle, it has yet to take full advantage of a cooling process that enables it to remove natural gases such as ethane and propane in liquid form. Those products can be sold separately.

The reason is that the plant is taking in gas only from the Williams processing plant in Parachute, where water, carbon dioxide and some natural gas liquids already are removed to make the gas ready for transportation in commercial pipelines.

The Willow Creek plant is stripping another 20,000 barrels of natural gas liquids from that gas. However, after Williams begins accepting a rawer form of gas from elsewhere, including other area gas producers, it expects to be able to reach peak liquid production of nearly 30,000 barrels per day.

That will boost Williams’ recovery of natural gas liquids to more than five times its previous level for the Piceance Basin.

Construction on the plant began in November 2007.

“Our team completed the plant on time and with no lost-time accidents during construction,” Alan Armstrong, president of Williams’ midstream business, said in the company’s news release. “It was also completed within approximately 1 percent of the original budget, which is significant given the inflated construction cost environment during the majority of the project.”


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