Duke Energy plans gas storage facility in Mississippi

A unit of Duke Energy Corp. plans to leach out an underground salt dome to create a natural gas storage facility with 3-bcf initial capacity in Copiah County, Miss., officials said Monday.


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, June 25 -- A unit of Duke Energy Corp. plans to leach out an underground salt dome to create a natural gas storage facility with 3 bcf initial capacity in Copiah County, Miss., officials said Monday.

The Houston-based Duke Energy Gas Transmission unit's Market Hub Partners will file an application for development of that facility with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this fall, officials said. They plan to leach one or more caverns in the salt dome, which can accommodate 9 bcf total storage capacity.

The facility could begin making deliveries into nearby pipeline as early as spring 2004, officials said. Surface facilities for compression, injection, and withdrawal of the gas also will be constructed.

Duke Energy officials decided to proceed with the project after potential customers expressed interest in the proposed storage facility during a recent invitation period. Commitment to proceed with development will be made once all state and federal regulations are satisfied, they said.

"The high deliverability of salt cavern storage makes the services provided especially appealing to generating stations that often require natural gas be withdrawn at a moment's notice to help them bring (power) units on line quickly to meet demand," said Gregory Rizzo, vice president of Duke Energy Gas Transmission and president of Market Hub Partners.

"Salt cavern storage also can cycle quickly, meaning the operator can change from injection of natural gas to withdrawal and back in a matter of minutes," he said.

Market Hub Partners is evaluating interconnection options with several natural gas transmission pipelines in close proximity to the proposed storage site. It's also evaluating options to maximize services to be offered, officials said.

Duke Energy Gas Transmission acquired Market Hub Partners last year to become the largest owner of US salt cavern storage facilities. Its salt dome facilities in Texas and Louisiana have total storage capacity of 24 bcf of gas, officials said.

Other Duke Energy facilities in Mississippi include Texas Eastern Transmission LP, Duke Energy Field Services natural gas pipeline, and Duke Energy North America electricity generating stations.

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