by Don Briggs
As we all know, natural gas production is an essential part of Louisiana’s economy. We have consistently ranked as the No. 2 gas-producing state in the U.S. Additionally, natural gas consumption is also important to Louisiana’s economy. We are the No. 3 gas-consuming state. With increased production and recent discoveries of groundbreaking shale gas reserves, many are asking important questions. In particular, where and how do we store all of this gas?
A major component in providing natural gas to the consumer is “natural gas storage.” And Louisiana is a leader in the development of natural gas storage.
Production of gas is generally at steady rates from a well or field. On the contrary, gas consumption varies widely from season to season, from day to day and from hour to hour.
Louisiana has a number of gas storage facilities and several under development. Our state has 18 gas storage facilities permitted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Man-made salt caverns have been identified as an excellent location for gas storage facilities in Louisiana as well. Salt caverns, designed, engineered and created for the purpose of storing gas, crude oil, and other hydrocarbon products are characterized by extreme flexibility in injection and withdrawal of their stored products. Currently, hundreds of caverns are being used to store natural gas and other products used in the petrochemical and refining industries. Recently, a $500 million proposed St Mary Parish gas storage project would use salt cavern storage to supply and connect eight of the most important natural gas pipelines in the country.
Gas storage developments under consideration in Louisiana anticipate multibillion dollar investments. These investments create hundreds of jobs and further strengthen our state’s position as an energy leader.
As an important economic factor in our state, gas storage facilities use the well-developed engineering, construction and operations skills available in Louisiana. Energy and economic security is enhanced by pipeline and storage development. With potential to become the No. 1 gas-producing state in the union, it’s important that Louisiana maintain its leadership in all aspects of the energy world.
Don Briggs is the president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.