The term “Table Rock” applies to a lot of things in the area, not the least of which are Table Rock Processing Plant and Table Rock Oil and Gas Field. The natural gas gathering system was the responsibility of Colorado Interstate Gas Company employees during its peak. The operation of a natural gas field requires many specialized personnel and the Table Rock gathering system required more than most, because a number of deep gas wells in the area produced “sour” gas, with a high percentage of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas. These wells and the transportation and processing facilities for that sour gas required employees with specific skills and training. Many of those employees were housed at Table Rock Village.
Table Rock Processing Plant was constructed to process the natural gas gathered from wells in the associated field that contained substantial amounts of deadly hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. This naturally-occurring, toxic gas is often found in deep gas wells in dangerous concentrations and renders the gas unusable for home energy.
Gas from these wells was transported via underground pipeline to the plant inlet, where the gas was “sweetened” by stripping the H2S from the other components. The “sweetened” gas then passed into the CIG transportation pipeline system for delivery to customers. The village natural gas supply was fed directly by this pipeline.
The toxic gas removed from the stream was used to manufacture liquid sulfur, which was originally shipped out by rail and truck to be used by industries throughout the country. The effluent gas from this process was originally burned in an incinerator to assure conversion of all remaining H2S to less-toxic sulfur dioxode (SO2) and that “tail gas” was released to the atmosphere approximately 200 feet above ground.
Later, EPA emissions regulations required further processing of the tail gas stream and a new section of the plant was added, which used the effluent gases to manufacture ammonium thiosulfate (ATS), a chemical used mainly as a crop fertilizer. This process brought plant emissions well below specified levels.
At the peak of the production from its sour gas wells, TRPP processed 50 to 60 million cubic feet of gas per day. The outgoing stream was constantly monitored to ensure that the gas delivered to the pipeline was H2S-free. In the event of interruptions of plant processes, the plant outlet was immediately closed and to prevent system overpressure, the stream was diverted to a vertical flare stack and ignited while processes were restored. The resulting flame was visible for many miles and quite dramatic, especially at night. Top
CIG’s portion of Table Rock Field consisted of numerous natural gas producing wells and the associated gathering and transportation equipment. In addition to many miles of pipeline above and below ground, this equipment includes metering stations, dehydration facilities, compressor stations, electrical substations, corrosion monitoring and prevention equipment and a host of other support equipment and the personnel to operate them. H2S-producing wells were connected to a separate gathering system, however the existence of these wells in the area required specialized training for most personnel working in the area. Top
Personnel in the Table Rock area often performed their duties under conditions that demanded more than most. Winter temperatures in the Red Desert basin can dip well into the -30 neighborhood. Add a stiff Wyoming wind and the chill index isn’t just low, it’s treacherous. Snow accumulation makes normal travel impossible and whiteout conditions are common. Summer storms can turn roads to remote locations to bogs in minutes. Wind and dust storms play their part and electrical storms cause power outages often.
In addition to harsh environmental conditions, the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the field meant extensive training for most field employees. Most employees in the area underwent classroom and hands-on safety and rescue training and plant personnel ran mock rescue drills on a regular basis. Many employees, as well as their spouses, opted to take additional rescue and emergency care training.
In short, Table Rock personnel were hardy, well-trained and responsible in their jobs. Top
After a couple of ownership changes and several modifications and upgrades, Table Rock Processing Plant is still in operation, now as Table Rock Gas Plant. The man overseeing operations at the plant today is Troy Waldner, someone many Table Rockers know well, since he’s one of us! Troy was gracious enough to give us a full update on the changes and the current status of the plant. CHECK IT OUT HERE. Thanks, Troy! Top