Underground gas storage set to become reality

Vol 8, PW 20 (12 Jan 05) Midstream & Downstream

India has finally woken up to the urgency of setting up natural gas storage facilities.

On 16th December GAIL floated a tender for a consultant to advise on the development of an underground natural gas storage facility. GAILs tender follows a directive last month from oil secretary Sushil Tripathi asking the Indian gas major to work together with ONGC, Oil India and underground storage expert Gaz de France to move the project forward.

We plan to create a strategic storage with natural gas reserves of up to 1bn standard cubic metres per day, a ministry official tells us. The successful consultant will examine two options for natural gas storage.

The first involves study of underground gas storage in porous media such as depleted oil or gasfields. This will involve the study of reservoir characteristics, geometry and native fluid characteristics.

The second option is to study underground gas storage in salt leached caverns. A critical component of the consultants job will be to advise on the engineering aspects of underground storage technology and branch connections to transmission pipelines.

A ministry official tells us the project will be developed in two phases. Phase-1 includes preliminary identification of geological targets and sites suitable for underground gas storage.

If the Phase-1 findings tell us underground storage is unviable in India, the project will be dropped. But if not, Phase-2 will begin with a detailed feasibility report from the consultant.

For storage in depleted gasfields, the consultant must prepare a database by incorporating seismic data, well logs and other factors compatible with 3D reservoir simulation models.