Global natural gas and LNG storage capacity in import markets is expected to expand by 10%, or 45 billion cu m (bcm), during the 2023-2028 period, largely supported by projects in China, Europe,and Eurasia, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its latest Quarterly Gas Market Report.
Within this period, there is an anticipated increase of over 35 bcm in underground gas storage (UGS) capacity. Notably, more than 75% of this added capacity will come from porous reservoirs such as aquifers and depleted fields. LNG storage capacity associated with regasification terminals is expected to increase by close to 10 bcm over the forecast period.
China is expected to lead gas and LNG storage development in the medium term. In March 2022, China released its 14th Five-Year Plan for a Modern Energy System, which sets a target to more than double the country’s gas and LNG storage capacity to reach 55- 60 bcm by 2025. At end-2022, China’s working gas capacity was estimated to be 18 bcm, accounting for just 5% of the country’s annual consumption, well below the level in mature markets.
Based on projects under development, China could add 20 bcm of UGS capacity in the coming years, accounting for more than half of the increase globally. In addition, China has around 7 bcm of LNG storage capacity, with 5 bcm currently under construction.
Europe’s UGS capacity is set to increase over the forecast period, largely driven by Turkey. The Silviri storage site was expanded to 4.6 bcm 3.2 bcm by end-2022 and the Tuz Gölü (salt cavern) storage facility is set to increase its working capacity to 5.4 bcm from 1.2 bcm by end-2023. In Poland, the capacity of UGS Strachocina is due to increase to 0.46 bcm from 0.36 bcm from the start of the 2023/24 winter season. In addition, UGS Wierzchowice is set to expand to 2.1 bcm from 1.3 bcm by 2025. In Bulgaria, working capacity of the Chiren storage site is set to almost double to 1 bcm from the current 0.55 bcm by 2024. In Romania, the Bilciuresti storage site will be enhanced, increasing its storage capacity to 1.42 bcm from 1.31 bcm. The Rough gas storage facility in the UK was reopened ahead of the 2022/23 heating season with a capacity of 0.85 bcm, representing just 25% of its pre-closure capacity in 2017. Working capacity at Rough is set to increase by 0.2-0.25 bcm ahead of the 2023/24 winter season. New floating storage regasification units (FSRUs) and reopening of the El Musel LNG terminal in Spain are set to add over 1 bcm of LNG storage capacity during 2023-2025.
In Eurasia, underground storage developments are driven by Russia, with the country targeting an increase in its daily withdrawal capacity to 1 bcm from 0.84 bcm in 2022/23.
Storage additions are expected to be limited in other regions, with projects being developed in Australia, Brazil, and Iran. LNG storage capacity additions outside China and Europe are expected to be driven by Korea, emerging markets in Asia, and Kuwait (in association with the Al-Zour LNG import terminal).