An explosion at the Williams Companies Inc. natural gas-processing plant in Opal, Wyo., in April was one in a series of accidents involving the overtaxed pipeline and rail infrastructure this year. It was the second for Williams, which had a fire at one of its gas gathering plants in West Virginia in March. The Wyoming plant can produce 2 percent of the country’s daily gas supply.
The Williams plant feeds into the Opal Hub, a crossroads for five pipelines that connect to California, Oregon and Canada and head east across the Rocky Mountains.
Williams operates two natural gas processing plants in Wyoming which remove liquids and other impurities from natural gas to allow it to be transported in large pipelines.
Gas comes to the processing plants from the Williams gathering system, a network of 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of pipelines which collect gas produced in the region.
Wyoming leads the nation in coal production and is also a top gas producer. Wyoming accounted for more than 7 percent of U.S. marketed gas production in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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