--> Abstract: Trends in Cavern Storage of Petrochemicals and Natural Gas in Canada, #90907 (2000)

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ABSTRACT: Trends in Cavern Storage of Petrochemicals and Natural Gas in Canada

MANOCHA, J.S., Ministry of Natural Resources. Petroleum Resources Centre, London, ON, Canada; CROSSLEY, N.G. TransGas, A SaskEnergy Company; and CICCHINI, O., Dow Chemical Canada Inc.

The storage of natural gas and liquefied petroleum products in salt formations provides economic, environmental, and safety benefits for the industries and residents of Canada. There are 3 major salt formations in Canada covering an area of approximately 390,000 km2 located in Western Canada at Mackenzie and Elk point Basin, in Ontario at the Michigan Basin and in Eastern Canada at the Moncton and Cumberland Basins. There are approximately one hundred and fifty active hydrocarbon storage caverns with a combined storage capacity of 7 million m3 (44 million barrels). These cavern structures are constructed within salt strata and store extremely pure petrochemicals including ethylene, propylene, butane and pentane. The salt formations provide a non reactive medium for such high-grade storage petrochemicals. In addition, formations are located at depths that provide storage pressure of up to 24,000 Kpa. The capital costs for development are about 5% of the similar facilities above ground, there are significant compression and heating costs savings, equipment maintenance costs are estimated at about 2% of the costs for similar above ground facilities, but most importantly there are significant inherent safety and environmental advantages.

The current trends include the conversion of former solution mined caverns to storage, the construction of wells by salt solution mining companies to be in accordance with Storage of Hydrocarbons in Underground Formations of the Canadian Standards Association for future storage, the operations of caverns with automated interlocks and emergency shutdown systems for increased safety, the testing for cavern mechanical integrity and further optimization of existing caverns by multiple entry wellbores. Given the large aerial extent of salt formations, the depths at which these deposit exist and the thickness of the salt beds in these formations in Canada, there is tremendous potential for further developing solution mined caverns for storage of petrochemicals and natural gas.


Search and Discovery Article #90907©2000 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, London, Ontario, Canada