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AGL Resources is building a natural gas storage project in the Spindletop salt dome in Jefferson County and Beaumont, Texas, by hollowing out the salt approximately a half-mile to a mile below ground to create caverns. Virtually impermeable and protected deep underground, salt dome caverns are the safest means of storing natural gas.
Stored natural gas provides a number of benefits:
GTS has increased Jefferson County's overall natural gas storage capacity and enhances the area's position as a national energy hub, increasing the functionality of the area's existing and planned energy infrastructure. The facility is conveniently located near natural gas supplies, including natural gas imported through area liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, East and South Texas natural gas production fields and offshore deepwater production wells. A number of nearby pipelines can deliver this natural gas to customers in the region as well as to markets in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
- balances changes in market demand;
- stabilizes prices; and
- provides a buffer against supply disruptions, such as hurricanes.
GTS's existing storage facilities, authorized by the TRRC and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under Docket No. CP07-414-000, et al., include the following: two 8-billion cubic feet (Bcf) salt dome natural gas storage caverns (when built to fully certificated working gas capacity), leaching and brine disposal facilities, a 14,205 ISO-rated horsepower (hp) compressor station and a nine-mile natural gas dual Header Pipeline system that extends northeast into Orange County, Texas, with bi-directional meter stations to interconnect with three interstate and three intrastate natural gas pipeline systems. Construction has already been completed for Cavern 1 and the Pipeline Header system, Central Compressor Station and six interconnecting meter stations (Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, Houston Pipe Line, Texas Eastern Transmission, Florida Gas Transmission, Golden Pass Pipeline, and Centana Intrastate Pipeline). GTS was designed, built and is operated to meet or exceed the latest safety and environmental regulatory requirements.
The first cavern was initially leached to approximately 6 Bcf of working gas capacity and was placed into commercial service in September 2010. GTS plans to place the second cavern into commercial service in 2012. GTS is capable of providing up to 300 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day of injection capacity and up to 600 MMcf per day of delivery capacity to its shippers.
GTS is planning to expand its existing storage facility and build two additional storage caverns. The company filed an application with FERC for the GTS Expansion Project on August 5, 2011. Fully developed and operational, the third cavern will have a working gas capacity of about 9.2 Bcf and the fourth cavern will have a working gas capacity of 7.4 Bcf. Construction of the third cavern is scheduled to begin in 2012 and of the fourth cavern in 2014. GTS plans to begin commercial operations of the third cavern in 2015 and of the fourth cavern in 2017. GTS has a permit from the TRRC to build five storage caverns on the Spindletop Salt Dome. The fifth cavern will not be included in the current proposed expansion.
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