For the last few years I’ve heard this argument about South Central Salt Storage. South Central is a region of the US for Natgas storage and Salt would narrow it down even closer to salt caverns. The south is a dominant area for Natgas flow and any disruption in storage could potentially cause a disruption for much more than just this single region. As we’ve seen in the Permian lately, Natgas pipeline infrastructure capacity can become limited. So the argument goes, Supply/Demand has grown substantially in the last few years yet storage capacity remains the same. Even though production has surpassed (what I would call) structural demand by upwards of 3Bcf/d lately, Salt storage is presently 48% full.
We see that salt is hardly keeping up with filling capacity when compared to other regions of the US. Back to the argument that it is not filling enough; therefore come winter, this region of storage could run out. When comparing supply and demand on the national level, this year is beginning to look like we will not possibly run out of storage, even in the midst of a cold winter. If one of these 7 major regions were to run out of gas, we would have that similar problem that Permian is having right now with getting rid of supply. There just is not enough pipeline capacity in all directions to move gas where we want when we want, which is the point of having enough capacity in each region. Granted, 5 year minimum for Salt storage has not dropped below 108Bcf, the last time this region experienced much in the way of a cold winter was 2014. At that time supply and demand were both much lower and the infrastructure at that time may have been more up to the task of moving gas more on demand.
I’m going to end this by sharing an article written by a reservoir engineer, posted on Oilprice.com Dwayne Purvis, makes a strong argument for the need for greater storage capacity. This is a test article so expect many mistakes and biased opinions.