The Plant & Field


The Plant | The Field | The Personnel | The Plant NOW

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.

The Plant

Table Rock Processing PlantTable 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.

TRPP

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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.

Tail Gas Unit, TRPP

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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
The plant at flare, viewed from the Village after a power failure

The Field

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

The Personnel

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

The Plant NOW

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

11 comments


  1. I guess it is time this will become rambling, it will take more than many steps but it has been thought on quite awhile. The story starts with a 4 cylender Chevy Luv and an entire Uhaul trailer of weight…..making it to Wamsutter Wyo. on a wing and a prayer. With me was one 3 year old son, 1 dog and 2cats, couple of plants, all inside the cab of a chevy Luv PU. Oh and the aforementioned Uhaul trailer behind.

  2. The story of course complicates from here, nothing in my live has ever been simple. Wife had ran ahead of my moven 40 on hills, we seperated in Denver…We had lost each other…I continued on ( after sleepen a couple hour at Wagon Mound in the lights to be seen from interstate, other plans seemed fruitless, she had no cash for gas….she was after must have been for her all options to the wind by Laramie CIG… Ray…huhhmf and I drawn a blank here, loaned her a tank of gas, a call to Wamsutter and Oile, and a ” have faith in that gal…knew she would get er dun” . I tried to pay him bacxk years later, the money was sent back with a try again note…..You know CIG had real men in it, we did not play at being real men……

    It was June 1 in 1979, we had come from Clovis New Mex. On June 6th that year it snowed……Paycheck, Richard York..laborers Tablerock Process Plant..Blessed….kids and cash, God all on my mind at that time….

  3. Converter beads, coalescer beds, living life inside a scuba air mask while being on the ground…not in the water…. Trock, sour gas, Dr. Death always knocken….Pay check, kids growen, division between X and I growen also….I went where I felt my fit in. I become a welltender, many times in blizzards and 60 miles from nearest other man. Heat leaves unless you under stand ” The Cremation of Sam Maggee” Wyo is a harsh mistress, you earn a right of passage to live in ” God’s Country” I never will forget the relishing of being there. With Golden eagles falling from the sky to snatch baby antelope, to knowing I am dead, and chaining up all 4….. 4 times a day… in 20 below….I was younger then…..Miss every piece of it….

    I remember that first paycheck….I remember spending my last dime in Vern’s Conoco to buy enough gas to get to Rawlins and buy the groceries and milk I damn sure needed. At bank signed back of check,,,,was taken and denied,,,who the hell are you CIG, just another defunk oil trash outfit, we can not honor your check cause we do not know CIG might as well be Xon to oilfield boom days.. Never in life have I felt fighting for my life as much as I did in Wyoming, never in live have my hairs been hackled to that extent, but I was growing, and so was my pups.

    • Dana

      Thanks for the posts, Dwight! You guys out there in the field certainly saw the worst part of the winters. Quite an adventure you had getting to Wamsutter, too! But you and the family made it and made a life out there in the desert, along with the rest of us with the “grit” that country demands.

      Keep right on rambling.

  4. Dwight Panter

    Tonight, I feel reflective. and Doctor Death came to mind….. Doctor Dead hits every head of every man and woman that ever worked at Table Rock Plant and Field facilities, each of us that worked at Table Rock saw a orientation movie, part of our ” in house” mandatory “newby” training. The 20 minute video “complete with a Dracula -Bela Lugosi-bit actor” explained the hazards of H2S. Important points expounded..1 to 50 Parts Per Million,can still smell H2S (Rotten egg) . 50 to 500 PPM, loss of smell and disorientate comes quick . Above 500 ppm can be death, above 1000 PPM almost assured death.

    We worked in gas masks… We were not allowed beards, facial hair. SCBA ( Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) were donned daily. In Plant, quick connect air hoses to face masks and 5 minute escape packs were understood, and used daily, both in plant and field. We laughed at the Doctor Death concept, but he was real. The village actually did live under a real threat, however remote all man could do to remove threats.

  5. Dwight

    Now that I feel Hemingway with a house full of cats, more “Munchhausen”,,,, I went as soon as I could to the field,,,,, plant life, shift work, something I respect and have done, 8 days of midnights to 8 Am (morning towers), just get used to it and then after 3 days schedule gives you a 7 days of 8 AM to 4 PM, let’s see how the rats react . Cash though, cash on a barrel head., I needed, still need, time alone, something a plant environment did not offer. Into the Wyo. open spaces, I headed….. change a flow chart, check on… wells,,, tender them, 50 miles from blacktop. What I saw in “God’s Country”,, during my time,, while alone,,no one to back up my Munchhausen stories….I both love and fear ever being in that country again doing what I did. Respectfully. God will speak to you in a language you understand…I “really” grew up. Table Rock was Frontier, maybe in lower 48 the last time ever to be seen. Men risked lives to save other men, drank a beer later, and shooked shoulders. Could of been me in there, Lim, expect you would have came to my rescue…same as. .Dependency ran more than skin deep.

  6. BILL BAILEY

    I worked on that plant during construction setting the towers , good money , no place to stay , drove from Green river , lived in atent some times , The boom was on ,often wonderd if the plant still operated

  7. Dana

    Hi Bill,

    Glad you found the site and thanks for leaving a comment. It’s always good to hear from another brave soul that spent some time out there in the Red Desert.

    I’m sure you read on our pages that the plant is still in operation today. Lots of changes in ownership and a lot more automation now, but they’re still out there doin’ the job.

    • BILL BAILEY

      I thik it takes a certtain type of person , perhaps spirtly minded to even think of spending a long time there, I have worked in a lot of desolete areas in this country but the Red Desert sort of took the cake Thanks for the sight keep it up Bill

  8. Jim Madden

    I remember fixing and making do with what you had available.
    As I remember it the King was Reilly Callahan and a close second was Vernon Little. Reilly had an old beater Ford Bronco and the gas gauge stopped working.. It needed a certain resister to send the correct signal to the gauge. Reilly didn’t have that resister but he did know the amount of impedance
    That it produced…so with that knowledge he measured the resistance across a tail light bulb put the correct number of tail light bulbs in a row to equal that resistance and mounted them on his Bronco’s dash board to take the place of the needed resister. I think it was 7 tail light bulbs … The company yard truck was missing a few tail lights there for a spell…

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