Natural gas is becoming an increasingly important source of energy, not least through its role as a partner to renewables. But while global natural gas demand continues to increase, the question of the security of its supply is becoming ever more important.
Providing a reliable supply of natural gas – the environmentally-friendly energy – requires natural gas storage facilities. Natural gas storage facilities are pillars of our modern energy infrastructure, and, given the key role they play in ensuring the security of the future gas supply, need significant investment. They are the only means of compensating for seasonal fluctuations in consumption and ensuring that supply consistently meets demand. Particularly during peak consumption periods, our natural gas storage facilities guarantee stability and security throughout Europe.
Natural gas storage facilities are typically located underground and filled during the summer. The stored fuel is then delivered in the winter months in order to offset the higher level of demand. In addition to providing the extra gas required during peak periods, these facilities help ensure security of supply by meeting energy needs when problems arise in the transport of natural gas, even at short notice.
Natural gas flows constantly from storage facilities in Europe and Central Asia through an expansive network of pipelines. It is also transported in liquefied form (LNG) by tanker from production sites on other continents to Europe’s coasts. UGS Katharina is expected to have five operational caverns by 2017, including a purpose-built, 37 km connection line to the YAGAL pipeline. The project employs the latest technical concepts and combines efficiency with the highest safety standards.
In 2011, ground was broken at the site of UGS Katharina natural gas storage facility, which was named after the Russian empress Catherine the Great. The facility is to be expanded stage-by-stage until its completion in 2024. Upon its completion, UGS Katharina will span 12 caverns with a working gas capacity of around 600 million cubic metres – enough to supply some 300,000 households with natural gas for an entire year.