Williams energy company broke ground Friday on three buildings at its Ignacio processing plant that had been destroyed by an explosion in November 2007. There were no injuries.
The $5 million reconstruction will produce 22,000 square feet of new buildings, including an administrative office, control room and warehouse. Work is expected to be completed Nov. 18, just 10 days shy of the second anniversary of the explosion.
The plant processes about 500 million cubic feet of gas a day.
A cooling tower at the plant caught fire and exploded about 3:30 a.m. Nov. 28, 2007. Fiery debris that was ejected set fire to outbuildings, including the control room, a critical element in the operation. Firefighters estimated 10 percent of the plant was damaged.
Sara Delgado from the Will-iams corporate office in Tulsa, Okla., said, "Essentially, butane leaking from piping was ignited, leading to the fire."
The plant, which suffered an estimated $10 million to $20 million of damage, was out of operation for 45 days. During the down time, natural gas was routed to other Williams plants in the Four Corners.
"We've reviewed and revised policies and procedures so there is minimum risk of the same thing happening again," Will-iams director of operations Don Wicburg said Friday to employees and some of the firefighters who fought the fire and evacuated three nearby homes.
A major change, he said, was locating the control room away from the processing plant. In the old configuration, the facility had grown around the control room.
Williams Production Co. produces gas. Williams Midstream Co. builds pipelines and separates methane, propane natural gas liquids. Through separate pipelines, the methane goes to the Pacific Northwest and Southern California, and the natural gas liquids go to Texas. The propane produced supplies about 75 percent of the need in the Four Corners.