Working natural gas storage capacity increased by 2% in the Lower 48 states between November 2011 and November 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s Underground Working Natural Gas Storage Capacity. Most of the largest year-over-year increases occurred in existing salt domes in the producing region, particularly Mississippi and Louisiana.
Four new storage sites went into operation during the year, three in the West region and one in the producing region.
According to EIA’s compilation of planned storage projects, another 71 bcf of design capacity could be added in 2013 from projects currently under construction. This rough estimate includes 34 bcf in the producing salt and 37 bcf in the West region. There were no reports of 2013 capacity to be added in the East. EIA said that readily available volumes of Marcellus shale gas might have influenced the lack of planned East-region growth.
EIA uses two measures of storage capacity and both increased by similar amounts:
• Demonstrated maximum working gas volume increased 1.8% to 4,265 bcf.
• Working gas design capacity increased 2% to 4,575 bcf.
Demonstrated maximum working gas volume differs from design capacity in that it is an operational measure and not an engineering measure. Maximum demonstrated working gas volume measures the highest level of working gas reported at each storage facility over the previous 5 years, and provides a practical measure of full storage.
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