Gazprom to proceed with UGS system development in Russia
With a view to further UGS system development, the Management Committee approved the 2011 Action Plan for facilities construction, retrofitting and commissioning as well as the terms of reference for the underground gas storage system development until 2015.
Gazprom will retrofit and expand some of the existing UGS facilities, particularly Kasimovskoye, Kushchevskoye, Punginskoye, Sovkhoznoye and Stepnovskoye, simultaneously with ongoing construction and commissioning of the Udmurtia reserving complex, the Kaliningrad and Volgograd UGS facilities. Moreover, it is planned to begin constructing the Bednodemyanovskoye, Novomoskovskoye and Shatrovskoye UGS facilities along with gas storages in the Republic of Tatarstan.
Specialized subdivisions and subsidiaries were tasked to ensure the Action Plan execution.
Underground gas storage (UGS) facilities are an integral part of Russia's Unified Gas Supply System(UGSS) and are situated in the key gas consumption regions. UGS facilities help smooth out seasonal fluctuations in gas demand, reduce peak loads in UGSS and allow for better flexibility and reliability of gas supply. The UGS facility network supplies up to 20 per cent of gas during the heating season and up to 30 per cent of gas during cold snaps to Russian consumers.
Expansion of UGS capacities is a strategic objective of Gazprom. By the 2008–2009 heating season start-up Gazprom raised the daily average send-out and the potential peak daily send-out of UGS facilities to 500 and 620 million cubic meters, respectively. The commercial gas volume amounted to 64 billion cubic meters.
Between 2009 and 2010 due to the economic crisis and reduced demand for natural gas in Russia and abroad, Gazprom had to suspend commercial gas build-up and the daily send-out increase at the existing UGS facilities. Therefore, over this period the natural gas storage sector was facing a major challenge of maintaining the achieved potential and the high level of reliability in the existing UGS facilities through their retrofitting and upgrade.
The projected growth in gas demand predetermines the need to continue the UGS system development. At present, Gazprom is constructing three UGS facilities in Russia: the Udmurtia reserving complex in an aquifer, the Kaliningrad and Volgograd UGS facilities in salt caverns. Several UGS facilities are in the process of design development, feasibility study and exploration. A wide scope of exploration work scheduled for Eastern Siberia and the Far East is aimed at searching for the formations suitable for underground storage of gas and helium concentrate.