Cedigaz: Global gas storage capacity to rise 48% by 2030

Cedigaz, in the fifth edition of its reference report on underground gas storage, expects global gas storage capacity to increase from 377 billion cu m (bcm) at the beginning of 2013 to 557-631 bcm by 2030. The incremental growth, 180-254 bcm by 2030, requires sustained investment throughout the period, amounting to a total €120 billion by 2030. In 2030, according to Cedigaz, storage will represent 11.6% to 13.1% of global gas demand, compared with 11.3% in 2013.

New storage markets (Asia and the Middle East) account for about 60% of incremental capacity through 2030. Strong growth is expected in rapidly emerging gas markets, particularly China. In these markets, storage infrastructure has to be built almost from scratch, Cedigaz said. Investment in China focuses on creating large volumes of storage capacity as well as peak deliverability to cope with rising imports and growing city and power demand, according to the report. Storage projects are chiefly linked to 1.) seasonal and peak balancing needs, 2.) optimization of the main long distance gas transmission pipelines, and 3.) security of supply.

In mature markets (US, most of Europe, and the Commonwealth of Independent States), growth in storage capacity is limited. The focus is on increasing peak deliverability rather than storage volumes. In developed and liberalized markets, the gas industry has undergone massive changes, largely impacting storage activity which increasingly performs new functions in addition to its traditional operational ones.

New storage needs are linked to development of trading activity and natural gas use to back-up intermittent renewable energy sources in electricity generation. These two trends favor flexible storage (salt caverns). Security of supply is also a major driver of additional storage needs in Europe, where import dependence is increasing.

Cedigaz explained that competition from other sources of flexibility has forced the storage industry to regularly develop techniques to meet market demand for performance, flexibility, and economic efficiency. In recent years trends have been towards expansion of existing capacities, improvement of efficiency and performance, and development of larger flexible storage (megasize caverns).

There were 688 underground gas storage facilities in operation in the world at the beginning of 2013, according to Cedigaz, representing working gas capacity of 377 bcm. More than two thirds of the sites are in North America, with 414 in the US, and 59 in Canada, and a combined working capacity of 152 bcm (40% of the global total). There are 144 storage locations in Europe (99 bcm), and 51 sites in the CIS with 51 facilities (115.5 bcm). Asia-Oceania has 18 sites (9.3 bcm of working capacity). There is one site in Argentina and one in Iran, all according to Cedigaz data.

Storage capacity has increased more than 35 bcm since 2010, mainly due to Europe which added almost 14 bcm, Cedigaz’ report says. There are 95 projects under construction globally, adding 68 bcm of working capacity. Most of this capacity will be completed by 2020-25. There are also 141 identified projects at different stages of planning. These projects would add another 85 bcm of working capacity if fully implemented, according to Cedigaz. Europe ranks first in all of Cedigaz’ expansion categories: number of projects, additions to working gas capacity, projects under construction and planned projects.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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