Underground gas storage
The throughput of trunklines conveying natural gas from fields to places of consumption is relatively stable. However, gas consumption is mainly characterized by seasonal fluctuations. In order to reduce peak loads and ensure flexibility and reliability of gas supplies, special compensation facilities are used: gas storages capable of accumulating excess gas, storing it and, whenever gas demand grows, providing it to consumers. For that purpose, underground gas storage (UGS) facilities are created in depleted hydrocarbon fields, aquifers, or salt caverns.
Gazprom’s UGS facilities in Russia
UGS facilities are situated in the main gas consuming regions and constitute an integral part of Russia’s Unified Gas Supply System. The UGS facility network provides 20–40 per cent of gas supplied by Gazprom during the heating season.
Gazprom operates 22 UGS facilities comprising 26 storage reservoirs in Russia: seventeen in depleted gas fields, eight in aquifers, and one in salt caverns.
Gazprom Group’s main assets and projects for gas transmission and underground storage
By the 2017–2018 autumn/winter period, the working gas inventories in the Company’s UGS facilities surpassed 72.2 billion cubic meters, with the potential maximum daily deliverability climbing to a record high of 805.3 million cubic meters as of the start of the withdrawal season (an increase of 4 million cubic meters against the previous year).
Gazprom’s UGS facilities abroad
Seeking to enhance the reliability of gas supplies under its export contracts, Gazprom utilizes UGS capacities within and beyond the CIS.
As a co-investor, Gazprom has access to the working gas capacities of the following UGS facilities in Europe:
- Etzel, Jemgum, Katharina, and Rehden (Germany);
- Haidach (Austria);
- Bergermeer (Netherlands);
- Banatski Dvor (Serbia);
- Damborice (Czech Republic).
When the need arises, Gazprom leases additional gas storage capacities from third-party companies.
In 2017, the Company’s own gas storage capacities in Europe totaled 5.03 billion cubic meters, with the daily deliverability of 83.3 million cubic meters.
Gazprom owns the following UGS facilities in the former Soviet Union:
- Mozyrskoye, Osipovichskoye, and Pribugskoye (Belarus);
- Abovyanskoye (Armenia).
The Company also uses some of the capacities of the Incukalns UGS facility in Latvia.
As of December 31, 2017, the working gas inventories in those UGS facilities totaled 3.0 billion cubic meters, with the daily deliverability of 55.6 million cubic meters.
UGS sector development
Enhancement of the potential maximum daily deliverability is one of Gazprom’s key goals in the development of Russia’s UGS sector. The annual increases in this indicator are comparable to the daily gas consumption of entire Russian regions, e.g. the Vologda or Leningrad Regions, in the winter period.
Potential maximum daily deliverability by withdrawal season, million cubic meters
The maximum daily deliverability is expected to exceed 1 billion cubic meters in the future (as a point of comparison, the same indicator is around 7 billion cubic meters for all UGS facilities across the world).
As many as six new UGS facilities are currently under design and construction in Russia:
- Udmurtia reserving complex.
A number of active UGS facilities are being reconstructed, expanded, upgraded, and reequipped.
Gazprom conducts geological exploration to build UGS facilities in the Russian regions with insufficient or no gas storage capacities. For instance, geological exploration is underway along the gas pipeline route from Ukhta to Torzhok and also in the direction of Arkhangelsk in the Northwestern Federal District, in the direction from Omsk to Tomsk in the Siberian Federal District and along the Power of Siberia gas pipeline’s route in the Far Eastern Federal District.
In the CIS, the Company intends to gradually increase the daily deliverability of its UGS facilities in Armenia and Belarus. An Action Plan has been prepared by Gazprom and Uzbekneftegaz for cooperation on UGS development in Uzbekistan.
Gazprom continues to build up its UGS capacities in Europe with the purpose of achieving the working gas capacity of at least 5 per cent of the annual amount of the Company’s gas exports.
Efforts are underway to construct the Katharina UGS facility in Germany and to expand the Banatski Dvor UGS facility in Serbia.
Work is in progress to study the possibility of creating underground storage facilities in China.
Katharina UGS facility