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Underground Natural Gas Storage Basics

John Huang, Ph.D., PE and John Poullain, PE

This two-hour online course summarizes basic information and issues concerning the underground storage of natural gas (NG) and the history of storage development. The physical and operating characteristics and economics of underground storage are described including the advantages, limitations and problems of the traditional types of storage facilities. Description of the various methods and procedures are provided to give an understanding of typical problems encountered in underground gas storage developments. The regulatory function of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is described to provide an overview of NG distribution and the national storage capacities.

Underground storage of NG was developed in the early 1900ís to offset volatility in NG prices caused by the varying demand and supply imbalances during the seasons of the year. Because the technology for the large pipelines necessary for distribution was not available at that time storage became a more feasible solution. Distributions of NG by mains and service pipelines were necessary to serve regionally scattered underground storage. Storage solved many regional needs in the US and helped to reduce the amount of pipelines required.

This course provides basic information for the underground storage of NG. About 23% of energy consumed in the US are from NG. And about 50% of the total consumption are for the commercial and industrial sectors and about 20% are for residential sectors. NG is used as a raw material for products such as paints, fertilizer, plastics, dyes, photographic film, medicines and antifreeze. It is used to produce electricity, steel, paper, brick and glass among many others. Most of the NG used in the US is produced in the US and the remainder comes from Canada by pipeline and also from Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipped by tankers.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.