Natural gas, like most other commodities, can be stored for an indefinite period of time. Natural gas that reaches its destination is not always needed right away, so it is injected into underground storage facilities. Storage is used to serve as a buffer between transportation and distribution, to ensure adequate supplies of natural gas were in place for seasonal demand shifts, and unexpected demand surge. Natural gas is usually stored underground, in large storage reservoirs. There are three main types of underground storage: depleted gas reservoirs, aquifers, and salt caverns.
a) Depleted Oil and Gas Reservoirs :
Depleted oil and gas reservoirs are the most commonly used underground storage sites because of their relatively wide availability. Depleted reservoirs are also attractive because their geological characteristics are already well known. Of the three types of underground storage, depleted reservoirs, are the cheapest and easiest to develop, operate, and maintain. The factors that determine whether or not a depleted reservoir will make a suitable storage facility are geographic and geologic
b) Aquifers :
Aquifers are underground porous, permeable rock formations that act as natural water reservoirs. However, in certain situations, these water containing formations may be reconditioned and used as natural gas storage facilities. As they are more expensive to develop than depleted reservoirs, these types of storage facilities are usually used only in areas where there are no nearby depleted reservoirs
c) Salt Caverns :
Salt caverns are well suited to natural gas storage in that allow little injected natural gas to escape from the formation unless specifically extracted. The walls of a salt cavern also have the structural strength of steel, which makes it very resilient against reservoir degradation over the life of the storage facility. Salt caverns are typically much smaller than depleted gas reservoirs and aquifers. As such, salt caverns cannot hold the volume of gas necessary to meet base load storage requirements
Alleman, N. 2016. “A Look at Underground Natural Gas Storage Operation and Regulation in The United States”. Denver: GWPC 2016 UIC Conference.
Picture Source :
Alleman, N. 2016. “A Look at Underground Natural Gas Storage Operation and Regulation in The United States”. Denver: GWPC 2016 UIC Conference