The proposed Appalachian Storage Hub is a great project because it brought attention to the need for natural gas liquids storage as the Appalachian Basin strives to become a petrochemical hub.
But the project’s capacity (roughly 10 million barrels), the fact it would be a single facility and its cost (estimates from $3.4 to $10 billion) are against it becoming a reality, according to Mike Tritt, President and CEO of Lane Power and Energy Solutions Inc.
“The Appalachian Storage Hub project is not how the oil and gas industry operates,” Tritt told Shale Directories. “The quantity (capacity) is unrealistic for a single location, and price of construction is five times the cost of building storage on the Gulf Coast.”
Tritt will be a featured speaker at the 4th Annual Appalachian Storage Hub Conference on August 27th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Southpointe, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Lane Power is the presenting sponsor of the Appalachian Storage Hub Conference which is produced by Shale Directories and TopLine Analytics. “Mike Tritt and Lane Power and Energy Solutions are a great asset to our Appalachian Storage Hub Conference,” stated Joe Barone, President and Founder, Shale Directories.
Houston-based Lane Power is one of the premiere companies for designing and constructing hydrocarbon storage caverns (both hard rock and salt); oil & gas support facilities and federal (strategic) energy projects.
Lane Power’s leader is convinced rather than one large storage facility, a number of smaller storage projects will be built in the Appalachian Basin, offering capacities between 2 million barrels and five million barrels, costing between $200 and $300 million.
“You will see multiple facilities starting at the tip of the WV panhandle stretching down to where Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia meet in proximity to the (natural gas liquids) processing facilities,” Tritt said.
The plastics industry will drive the number of NGL storage facilities to be built, he added.
NGL storage will come first, the first will start in 2021 (2020 is a “wash,” according to Tritt), but such facilities will not be the only storage projects built, he said.
“We’ll first see compressed natural gas caverns built in salt caverns and as the technology and cost to produce hydrogen decreases, then we’ll see hydrogen storage facilities built,” Tritt told Shale Directories.
CNG storage will support pipeline deliverability and will be constructed near new natural gas-fired power plants, and hydrogen storage will be used to supplement natural gas as the fuel source for those plants.
“Power Turbine original equipment manufacturers like Siemens, Mitsubishi and GE are looking at supplementing natural gas as a fuel source with hydrogen because it offers zero emissions,” Tritt said.
Currently, turbines utilizing a 70/30, natural gas/hydrogen ratio now are being developed. The Lane team has already built hydrogen storage caverns. Using hydrogen as a fuel source, ala hydrogen fuel cells, also continues to grow in popularity.
“Hydrogen storage works best in a salt cavern because the hydrogen has to be kept under very high pressure to increase its density,” Tritt said. “But it’s very expensive to create hydrogen because of the large amount of electricity required for the electrolysis process.”
“Mike Tritt will provide our attendees with probably the best assessment of the future of underground storage in the Appalachian Basin,” stated Tom Gellrich, Principal TopLine Analytics.
Storage always is the last thing to be developed, and it’s built to offer operational efficiency,” according to Tritt. “We’ll see NGL storage built first, with one hopefully started in 2021, with the others underway by 2025.”