Underground Natural Gas Storage
Natural Gas Storage Ensures Reliable and Responsive Delivery
Natural gas is the most diversified fuel in the United States. This domestic fuel is used to cook food, fuel vehicles, generate electricity and as a raw material for products such as fertilizer and plastics. One of the most important uses of natural gas is to heat buildings and homes. About half of all U.S. homes use natural gas as their main heating source. This use results in significant seasonal variations in which natural gas consumption is highest during the winter time and lowest during mild-weather months. Natural gas storage enables supply to match demand on any given day throughout the year by adjusting to daily and seasonal fluctuations in demand while natural gas production remains relatively constant year-round.
Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas
Growth in natural gas use has enabled the U.S. to be a world leader in reducing air emissions, ranging from criteria pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, to greenhouse gases. In 2014, researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the increased use of natural gas in power generation has led to 40 percent less NOX emissions and 44 percent less SO2 emissions since 1997. In 2015, the Energy Information Administration determined that greater use of natural gas helped reduce U.S. electricity-related CO2 emissions by 9 percent in 2014 when compared to 2005 levels.
How Does Underground Storage Work?
Put simply, when natural gas production is higher than natural gas consumption (typically April through October), it can be placed into storage. When natural gas production is lower than consumption (November through March), it can be withdrawn from storage to meet demand. In fact, about 20 percent of all natural gas consumed each winter comes from underground storage. Storage can also be used to keep natural gas flowing to customers in the event of temporary disruptions in production and also helps interstate pipeline companies balance system supply on their long-haul transmission lines. The flexibility and resiliency provided by storage is the key to maintaining reliable and responsive natural gas delivery.
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