Williams to launch third phase of expansion plan
Post Independent Staff
Williams Production RMT Co. is about to launch the third phase of a planned expansion of its natural gas processing plant in Parachute. It has applied for a special use permit Garfield County to install seven new compressors that will increase its production from 300 to 800 million cubic feet of gas per day.
It has said the expansion is needed to keep pace with production.
The plant sits on 11.8 acres and is located on County Road 215 in Parachute on 1,333 acres owned by Williams. Phase Two was completed in 2004 and Phase One in 2002.
Gas is collected at the plant from area wells. There, water, natural gas liquids and carbon dioxide are removed in order to move the gas into interstate gas pipelines.
Phase Three is expected to be completed this year and plant start up is scheduled for October.
According to a plan presented by Williams consultant Phil Vaughn Monday, four new buildings are proposed and are designed to operate 24 hours a day seven days a week, throughout the year. The current plant employs 20 workers and 18 tanker trucks serve the plant every day. The expansion will add 17 full time employees and 13 tanker trucks.
The compressors will be enclosed in the buildings and residential grade silencers will be installed.
Monday, the county commissioners agreed to hold hearings on the application rather than referring it to the county planning and zoning commission. Commissioner Tresi Houpt objected to the move saying the planning commission should conduct the hearings on the plan.
“I’m surprised this comes to us as a minimal impact project,” she said. The county commissioners usually refer larger and more complex projects to the planning commission.
The project “would double traffic on that road” and create more noise, she said.
Houpt also urged the commissioners to refer it to the planning commission so the public could participate in the process.
Commissioner Larry McCown disagreed.
“I feel we have heard phases one and two,” and given the plan due consideration.
He also noted the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission recently passed noise rules that are more stringent than standards which the first two phases were required to meet.
He also said the county commissioners give the public plenty of opportunity to participate in the planning process.
Commissioner John Martin agreed with McCown, saying that oil and gas projects have ample regulatory agencies, such as the COGCC, to provide oversight for potential impacts.
The commission is set to hear the proposal in February, Vaughn said.
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