Gas storage jobs
The underground storage of natural gas is a key part of the gas industry’s infrastructure, it has a number of benefits. Gas storage can help secure a country’s energy supply during demand peaks, such as during the winter months, and it can protect consumers from price volatility in international markets. The three main types of gas storage include: storage in depleted oil and/or gas reservoirs, aquifers or salt caverns.
Natural gas is measured and sold in cubic feet (cf). The common unit of measurement for a cubic foot of natural gas is the amount of natural gas at a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius) and at a pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch (psi or lbf/in²).
Depleted oil and/or gas reservoirs
The most common form of underground gas storage is in depleted oil and/or gas reservoirs. An underground formation that has already been developed is more likely to be geologically capable of holding natural gas. The location may benefit by already having infrastructure in place for the distribution of hydrocarbons.
As aquifers are full of water, powerful injection equipment is needed to allow sufficient pressure to push down the existing water and replace it with natural gas. It is usually more time consuming and expensive to develop aquifers into natural gas storage, so they are better suited to areas where there are no nearby depleted oil or gas fields.
As salt is impermeable to gas, it provides strong and environmentally sound underground storage for natural gas. Natural gas can be stored in salt caverns, which are created through the process of solution mining also known as leaching.
Other forms of gas storage
LNG storage tanks
Gas can be turned into liquid form at -160 °C and stored in LNG storage tanks above ground. In this form, the gas will occupy about 600 times less space than gas stored underground.
For short term storage, gas can be stored in gasholders above ground, these are commonly used for balancing.
Gas can also be stored temporarily in the pipeline system, which is known as line packing.
Careers in gas storage
Within the gas storage industry there are opportunities available for engineers to work on the construction and maintenance of the underground gas storage facilities. Engineers may also be required during the gas extraction process, where they can assist with the operation of drilling and extraction equipment.
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