A review of onshore UK salt deposits and their potential for underground gas storage
D. J. Evans, S. Holloway, 2009. "A review of onshore UK salt deposits and their potential for underground gas storage", Underground Gas Storage: Worldwide Experiences and Future Development in the UK and Europe, D. J. Evans, R. A. Chadwick
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The UK faces a major change in the nature of its gas supply as North Sea production declines and the country becomes increasingly reliant upon gas imports. As a result the UK Government recognizes that significant investment in gas supply infrastructure is required to maintain security of supply and manage the gas market. Part of that infrastructure will be additional underground gas storage capacity in specially designed and engineered salt caverns. This paper summarizes the distribution and nature of halite (rock salt) deposits in England and Northern Ireland, and reviews the details of existing and planned storage sites in salt caverns. There is considerable potential for further salt cavern development. However, not all of the UK salt fields are suitable, with the halite beds being too shallow, thin or impure.
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The UK became a net importer of natural gas in 2004 and by 2020 will import up to 90% of its requirements, leaving it vulnerable to increasing energy bills and risk of disruption to supply. New pipelines to Europe and improvements to interconnectors will meet some demand, but Government recognizes the need for increased gas storage capacity: this may be best met by the construction of underground storage facilities. Energy security has also raised the likelihood of a new generation of coal-fired power-stations, which to be environmentally viable, will require clean-coal technologies with near-zero greenhouse gas emissions. A key element of this strategy will be underground CO2 storage. This volume reviews the technologies and issues involved in the underground storage of natural gas and CO2, with examples from the UK and overseas. The potential for underground storage of other gases such as hydrogen, or compressed air linked to renewable sources is also reviewed.