Williams Cos. Inc. has restarted production of plastic feedstock ethylene at a plant in Geismar, La., that was the site of a fatal explosion less than two years ago.
“This is a significant milestone achievement in our effort to restore reliable operations at our plant for the benefit of our customers, employees, contractors and the community,” senior vice president John Dearborn said in a Feb. 10 news release from Tula, Okla.-based Williams.
Two workers were killed and 76 injured in an explosion at the site on June 13, 2013. In October 2013, Williams officials said that the explosion was caused by a rupture in a heat exchanger. That rupture then was ignited by an unknown source.
In late 2014, Williams paid a fine of almost $200,000 to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for violations connected to the explosion and for other site violations dating back to 2008. The firm also paid a $36,000 violations fine to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The rebuilt plant will have annual capacity of almost 2 billion pounds of ethylene, which is used in the production of polyethylene and PVC resin.
“We look forward now to rebuilding our reputation as a safe and reliable supplier of olefins,” Dearborn said.