Underground gas storage (UGS) facilities are created in depleted hydrocarbon fields, aquifers, or salt caverns. Such UGS facilities provide 20–40 per cent of gas supplied by Gazprom during the heating season.

Gazprom UGS boosts daily deliverables

Bolstered by an extensive network of underground gas storage (UGS) facilities throughout Russia and Europe, Gazprom increased its maximum daily deliverability to 843.3 million cubic meters in 2019- 2020, an all-time record for the Russian energy industry. According to company estimates, future UGS projects put Gazprom on track to exceed a daily deliverability of 1 billion cubic meters.
 
^ Underground gas storage (UGS) facilities are created in depleted hydrocarbon fields, aquifers, or salt caverns. Such UGS facilities provide 20–40 per cent of gas supplied by Gazprom during the heating season.

Article By Daniel Sweet
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The Russian energy company Gazprom owns and operates the world’s largest gas transmission system, with a total length of 172,600 kilometers. More than half of the company’s customers are located inside Russia, while exports are spread over 30 countries. As part of their extensive energy network, known as the Unified Gas Supply Stream, Gazprom operates a number of underground gas storage (UGS) facilities in high-consumption areas. These UGS facilities supply 20-40 percent of Gazprom’s supply during heating season.

In a recent press release, Gazprom announced a 36 percent increase in maximum daily deliverability during 2019-2020, as compared to the 2009–2010 withdrawal season, with a total of 843.3 million cubic meters supplied. The document attributed this increase to Gazprom’s extensive use of UGS. Given the effectiveness of UGS, the press release also signaled continued investment in the technology, and by the 2030–2031 season, Gazprom hopes to raise daily deliverability by approximately 200 million cubic meters, surpassing the 1 billion cubic meter mark. UGS facilities are referenced as central to the company’s plans going forward, and Gazprom is already in the process of expanding a number of Russian UGS facilities built atop salt cavern formations, including the pioneering Kaliningradskoye site.

Kaliningradskoye

Kaliningradskoye is located in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea. With four storage reservoirs currently in operation and fourteen additional reservoirs in planning phases, Kaliningradskoye  is a prime site of UGS development in Gazprom’s network. The facility is Russia’s first salt cavern UGS facility. Gazprom’s website describes a number of advantages in the use of salt caverns for UGS: “salt caverns are ideal leak-proof containers thanks to their gas-tight salt domes. Besides, the self-healing capacity of rock salt suppresses fractures and faults. Moreover, it is possible to rapidly switch Kaliningradskoye from injection to withdrawal and vice versa (multiple cycling capability), as well as bringing the UGS facility to its peak performance within the shortest possible time.

Phase 1 of the Kaliningradskoye project, consisting of two underground reservoirs and compressor capacities, was completed in 2013. Furthermore, “a 26-kilometer gas pipeline branch was built to connect the UGS facility to the Minsk – Vilnius – Kaunas – Kaliningrad gas pipeline. The facility is also connected to the offshore gas receiving terminal that was brought into operation in January 2019. It is therefore possible to receive gas from the Marshal Vasilevskiy floating storage and regasification unit at Kaliningradskoye.”

Efforts to expand UGS facilities like Kaliningradskoye are underway. Gazprom has publicized plans to increase the number of reservoirs at the site to fourteen by 2025, bringing the facility to design capacity, with working gas inventories of 800 million cubic meters and a daily deliverability of 12 million cubic meters.

Other Russian sites

In addition to Kaliningradskoye, Gazprom operates twenty two other UGS facilities in Russia. As is the case with Kaliningradskoye, a number of preexisting UGS facilities across Gazprom’s network are being reconstructed, expanded, upgraded, and reequipped to supplement the company’s gas supply and to drive growth toward an overall daily deliverability target of 1 billion cubic meters. With the benefits of UGS facilities proven, Gazprom is also undertaking plans to build entirely new sites in the Northwestern, Siberian, and Far Eastern Federal Districts. These include four confirmed sites at Arbuzovskoye, Bednodemyanovskoye, Novomoskovskoye, and Shatrovskoye.

At present, geological exploration is underway at several prospective sites. As explained on Gazprom’s website, “the company 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.”

European build up

With expansion in Russia currently underway, Gazprom also continues to build up its presence in Europe, often through coinvesting schemes undertaken with other partners. Gazprom’s stated aim with its associated European facilities is to achieve a working gas capacity of at least 5 per cent of the annual exports. Efforts are underway to expand Gazprom’s holdings at the Damborice UGS facility in the Czech Republic, as well as the Katharina and Jemgum UGS facilities in Germany.

Other European UGS sites utilized by Gazprom include Etzel and Rehden in Germany, Haidach in Austria, Bergermeer in the Netherlands, and Banatski Dvor in Serbia.
 

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