QUINTANA, Texas — Quintana Island near Freeport remains closed to visitors after an explosion rocked a natural gas plant Wednesday morning.
Fortunately, no one was injured and all of the employees at the plant are accounted for.
Although the beach has been evacuated as a precaution, there is no shelter in place or evacuation measures in place for nearby residents.
This happened at about 11:40 a.m. at the Freeport LNG plant in Quintana, which is about 10 minutes away from Freeport.
What exactly caused the explosion is unknown, but the incident has since been contained and an investigation is underway.
Surfside residents who live nearby said they heard and felt the explosion.
“We were in our home. We felt the ground shake and it was like rolling thunder. That’s what it sounded like. My husband flew out the door and said 'there’s an explosion over at the LNG,'" said Maribel Hill.
At one point, the U.S. Coast Guard said there was a two-mile security zone east and west of the plant as other law enforcement closed off the island. It's unknown if that security zone is still in place.
The Freeport LNG facility will be shut down for a minimum of three weeks due to Wednesday's explosion.
Check back for any updates.
What is Freeport LNG?
Freeport LNG was founded in 2002 and was the first U.S. liquified natural gas import and regasification terminal in over 20 years, according to the company's website.
Construction on the plant began in 2005 and it was completed in 2008.
The website says it has 160,000 cubic meter LNG storage tanks and a marine dock that could accommodate some of the largest tankers in service.
The company's website says Freeport LNG's terminal is the largest point of demand for natural gas in Texas.
What is liquified natural gas?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, liquefied natural gas is natural gas that's been cooled to a liquid state, which occurs at around -260 degrees Fahrenheit.
In its liquified state, natural gas is 600 times smaller than its volume as a gas. The process was developed in the 19th century to make transporting natural gas possible in places where pipelines don't reach.
Import terminals, like Freeport LNG, received the liquified natural gas in cryogenic storage tanks before it's returned to its gaseous state, or "regasified."
After it's returned to a gaseous state, it gets transported to natural gas pipelines and gas-fired power plants, industrial facilities and customers.