American Petroleum Institute updates recommended practices for natural gas storage

The American Petroleum Institute introduced two updated standards for natural gas storage in underground salt caverns and depleted hydrocarbon and aquifer reservoirs.

The first — API Recommended Practice (RP) 1170, Design and Operation of Solution-mined Salt Caverns Used for Natural Gas Storage, 2nd edition — provides guidance for salt cavern facilities used for natural gas storage. The standard focuses on facility geomechanical assessments, cavern well design and drilling, risk management, solution mining techniques, and operations.

The second — API Recommended Practice 1171, Functional Integrity of Natural Gas Storage in Depleted Hydrocarbon Reservoirs and Aquifer Reservoirs, 2nd edition — outlines storage well, reservoir and fluid management for functional integrity in design, construction, operation, monitoring, maintenance, and documentation practices. The standard applies to natural gas storage in depleted natural gas and oil reservoirs as well as aquifer reservoirs.

“Underground storage of natural gas is a vital part of natural gas energy infrastructure, allowing the industry to maintain a steady supply to meet changing consumer demands. These updated standards help ensure underground storage facilities are designed, maintained, and operated at the highest level while advancing health, safety, and sustainability in the communities where we operate,” API Senior Vice President of Global Industry Services Anchal Liddar said.

API points out that there are currently more than 500 salt caverns and depleted hydrocarbon and aquifer reservoirs in the United States that safely store and then deliver natural gas through the nation’s pipeline infrastructure. This practice allows natural gas to be stored when extracted and released to pipelines, local distribution companies, producers, and shippers based on variable consumer demand. This is now more important than ever, given the current global energy crisis.

The United States is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and U.S. proved reserves of natural gas have increased nearly every year since 2000 due to advancements in natural gas exploration and production technologies.

Dave Kovaleski

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