Gas storage in Etzel
Natural gas production and pipeline transport from the distant natural gas fields is normally continuous and thus not in line with demand, because significantly more natural gas is required in the winter half-year than in the summer half-year. With the help of the cavern storage facilities, the demand peaks in winter, but also supply fluctuations or even supply interruptions can be balanced out.
The operation of gas caverns requires specialized and state-of-the-art gas operating facilities that fall directly under the responsibility of the gas tenants. Currently, four operator consortia have longstanding ties to the Etzel site:
- EGL: Etzel Gas-Lager (EGL) is a consortium of Uniper Energy Storage GmbH and Equinor Storage Deutschland GmbH. The gas storage facility has been in operation since 1993. Equinor Storage Deutschland is the contractor for EGL's above-ground facilities within the meaning of mining law, while STORAG ETZEL Service is EGL's technical operator.
- EKB: Etzel-Kavernenbetriebsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (EKB) is a project of the consortium of companies BP Europe SE, Ørsted and SEFE Securing Energy for Europe GmbH.
- ESE: ESE-Erdgasspeicher Etzel (ESE) is a is a cooperation of the companies Uniper Energy Storage GmbH, MET Speicher GmbH, OMV Gas Storage Germany GmbH and VNG Gasspeicher GmbH. The storage facility is operated by Uniper Storage GmbH.
- FSG Crystal: Friedeburger Speicherbetriebsgesellschaft mbH Crystal (FSG Crystal) is a joint project of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg Etzel Speicher GmbH and Électricité de France (EdF) Gas Deutschland GmbH.
Excellent gas infrastructure
The gas infrastructure at the site is excellently connected to 4 supraregional pipelines, the NETRA (entry and exit intermediate station), the Emden-Etzel pipeline and the Bunde-Etzel pipeline (BEP). Most recently, the BEP was completed in 2011, connecting the cavern facility over 60 km to the gas pipeline hub in Bunde/Oude Statenzijl and connecting Etzel to the Dutch gas grid.
By the end of 2022, another pipeline (Wilhelmshavener Anbindungsleitung / WAL) will be built from Wilhelmshaven to the long-distance gas grid near Etzel. As early as this winter, around 7.5 billion m³ of gas per year can be landed via Wilhelmshaven and fed into the long-distance gas grid. In the future, up to 20 billion m³ of gas per year will be transported via this pipeline. That alone would replace 40 per cent of the annual Russian gas deliveries of recent years.
Since 2007, the STORAG ETZEL cavern facility has been developing into one of the largest oil and gas storage sites in Europe. In addition to the 75 caverns currently in place, further storage caverns can be created in the Etzel salt dome. There is a potential for expansion to 99 cavern sites. Already today, a considerable part of the total volume of all German crude oil and natural gas reserves is stored in Etzel.