Natural gas storage

The storage of natural gas plays an important role in regulating the supply in order to meet the great seasonal variation in demand. Consumption of natural gas is much greater in winter than in summer, while the supply of gas is relatively stable throughout the year. The excess supplies of natural gas produced or imported in the summer months are generally stored in depleted reservoirs and can be withdrawn in winter when demand is greater than supply. The storage of natural gas is implemented through an integrated infrastructure system that consists of depleted reservoirs, gas processing plants, gas compression stations and operational dispatching systems. The underground storage of gas has played and continues to play a significant role in the development and stabilisation of the gas market. Storage is called conventional when depleted or partially depleted gas production reservoirs are used, semiconventional when depleted oil reservoirs or aquifers are used and special when it takes place in caverns created in underground salt formations or in abandoned coal mines.
At present there are 10 natural gas storage fields in Italy with a total capacity of 16 billion cubic metres. In Italy, storage fields are obtained exclusively from nearly depleted gas reservoirs. This choice is a consequence of the geological characteristics of the country and of the fact that the depletion of some gas fields has provided structures that are suitable for use as storage facilities.

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