Williams Reopens Cameron Meadows Nat. Gas Plant Damaged by Rita

Williams (NYSE: WMB - News) announced today that its Cameron Meadows natural gas processing plant in southern Louisiana has returned to service at partial capacity.

The facility began startup operations last week and is available to process up to 300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Spot outages are possible over the next several days as crews continue to fine-tune equipment and troubleshoot problems.

On Sept. 24 last year, the facility sustained significant damage from Hurricane Rita as the eye of the storm went through the communities of Johnson Bayou and Cameron. The storm filled the plant's compressors and engines with salt water and dirt, and essentially destroyed the control room, administrative office and warehouse.

So far, Williams' employees and contractors have restored the larger of the plant's two main cryogenic processing units. As many as 100 people have been working at the site during periods of peak activity.

Repairs are under way on the second processing unit. Williams expects the Cameron Meadows facility will be ready to operate at its full design capacity of 500 million cubic feet per day in the second quarter.

"This is a significant achievement. It's astounding to me that our teams and contractors have recovered from so much damage in such a short period of time," said Alan Armstrong, who leads Williams' midstream business.

"I have so much respect for the resourcefulness and can-do attitude of our employees in southern Louisiana. They are dealing with destruction on multiple fronts every day. Nearly all of the homes, schools and churches near our operations were heavily damaged or destroyed. Yet our people are proving they have the perseverance that it will take to rebuild their lives."

The scope of the work at the Cameron facility has included removing debris, modifying piping, refurbishing motors, turbines and engines, and replacing instrumentation and electronics.

The plant is covered by standard property and business interruption insurance. The property damage deductible was reserved in the third quarter of 2005.

Williams' Transco Station 44 - a separation, dehydration and compression facility - shares a fence line with the Cameron Meadows processing plant. Station 44 returned to service on Nov. 1.

About Williams
Williams, through its subsidiaries, primarily finds, produces, gathers, processes and transports natural gas. The company also manages a wholesale power business. Williams' operations are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Gulf Coast, Southern California and Eastern Seaboard.