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Major Accidents Ordinance

Information according to the Federal Immission Control Act

for our neighbors and the public

The gas caverns, which are operated with the help of the technical equipment of various gas plants in the Etzel cavern facility, are subject to the regulations of the Federal Immission Control (12th BImSchV). Information in accordance with §§ 8a and 11 of the Major Accidents Ordinance can be found below.

We have summarized some important information and rules of conduct in a leaflet for our neighbors in the immediate vicinity. The leaflet is available below as a pdf document.

The last on-site inspection by the supervisory authority, the State Office for Mining, Energy and Geology (LBEG), Clausthal-Zellerfeld, took place on the following date:  

  • 05/31/2022

Further information can be obtained from the competent authority.

Information according to the Major Accidents Ordinance

What is an incident?

Despite all safety measures and technical precautions, short-term operational disturbances, such as increased flare flames or temporary odor and noise pollution, can occur during ongoing operation of a natural gas storage facility.

An operational disturbance only becomes an incident if it results in a serious risk to the health and life of people, damage to the environment or to cultural and material assets.

An incident would be, for example, the spread of a flammable natural gas cloud. Due to the safety technology installed, incidents are very unlikely, but nevertheless cannot be ruled out.

Company: STORAG ETZEL GmbH
Etzel cavern plant

Street: Beim Postweg 2
City/Location: 26446 Friedeburg

Phone: 04465-8090
Fax: 04465-8180
Write an Email

Further information is given by the

Operations Manager
Mr. Christoph Uerlich
phone: 04465-809181

or by the

Incident Officer
Mr. Kurt-Jürgen Grabert
Phone: 04465-809183

The gas caverns at the Etzel cavern facility are subject to the provisions of the Major Accidents Ordinance.

The required information and documentation have been submitted to the responsible supervisory authority, the State Office for Mining, Energy and Geology (LBEG). Information on the last on-site inspection by the supervisory authority can be found on the company homepage.

Natural gas storage facilities are mainly used to cover peak loads in the natural gas supply and to balance the different summer/winter demand. For this purpose, the natural gas is stored in underground cavities (salt caverns) and withdrawn as required.

Although all necessary safety precautions have been taken, the escape of natural gas through leakage cannot be ruled out with absolute certainty due to the existing pressure conditions. The table lists the properties of natural gas.

A possible hazard to people in the immediate vicinity of the natural gas storage facility (natural gas cavern sites) may result from the escape of larger quantities of gas and the spread of an ignitable or possibly burning gas cloud.

In the event of an incident, the control center of the Wittmund district and the LBEG are informed according to a predefined plan. The local fire departments and other rescue forces are then deployed via the control center. In addition, the responsible authorities of the district and the municipality of Friedeburg are called in. The affected neighborhood is warned and informed about the hazardous situation. If necessary, the emergency forces visit the affected persons personally.

Please observe the "Rules of conduct in the event of an incident", which can be found in this information sheet.

STORAG ETZEL GmbH has taken all necessary safety measures for the Etzel cavern facility to prevent an incident. These have been recorded in writing and checked by the responsible authorities. The technical installations are monitored by the specialist staff of the cavern facility. The local fire departments are familiar with the facilities and can intervene immediately in accordance with the existing plans.

In the event of an incident and thus the application of alarm and hazard prevention plans of the responsible authorities, we ask you to follow all instructions of the emergency services without fail.

We are convinced that we have taken all conceivable precautions to avoid an incident. Nevertheless, we also know that there is always a residual risk. In such a case, our precautionary measures will avert possible damage to our employees and the neighbors living in the vicinity of our operating facilities.

We will continue to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our operations on an ongoing basis and to implement improvement opportunities for the integrity of our systems on an ongoing basis.

Rules of conduct in the event of an incident

The fire department and police, as well as their official representatives, will provide information about required rules of conduct through loudspeakers. Please be sure to follow the instructions given.

Notifications of an incident, rules of conduct and all-clear warnings are also announced, if necessary, by the regional radio stations.

Stellenanzeige Industriekaufmann (m/w/d)

To ensure that you can be reached if necessary, please only use the telephone in an emergency; the fire department, police and other agencies need every telephone line to initiate assistance and rescue measures.

Escaped gas and smoke move with the wind direction. Move away from the danger area as quickly as possible across the wind. Do not remain in the danger area!

If possible, leave the rescue of injured persons to the rescue services, as attempts at rescue without the appropriate equipment may endanger life. Notify rescue services, in special cases when rapid or immediate intervention is required, rescue with due regard for self-protection.

There they are under supervision and cannot react wrongly through ignorance.

Enclosed buildings provide better protection than being outdoors.

Seal door sills with wet cloths to minimize outside air from entering.

Turn off the ventilation or air conditioning. Take this into account even when you are in the car!

Natural gas is lighter than air. Therefore, lower rooms are generally safer. However, choose a room that does not have a heating system or fireplace hearth, as these hearths usually have an outside air intake. Turn off air conditioning and/or ventilation systems.

Important phone numbers

STORAG ETZEL Logo

Phone number in case of emergency and breakdown:
04465-8090

Citizen's Phone:
04465-977 93 39

Safety report of STORAG ETZEL

In the current safety report of 2017, the concept for the prevention of incidents and measures to limit their effects are presented for the operating areas of STORAG ETZEL. This also includes the identification of possible incident scenarios, the preparation of internal alarm and hazard prevention plans and the delivery of required information to the competent authority of the district. A safety report must be prepared regularly by STORAG ETZEL due to legal requirements. 

Company representatives from STORAG ETZEL and experts presented the company's updated safety report in accordance with Section 9 of the Hazardous Incident Ordinance to interested residents of the Etzel cavern facility as part of a neighborhood information session at the end of 2018.

In addition, information was provided on incident and environmental information law as well as on the safety concept of the gas storage facilities. It became clear that STORAG ETZEL maintains safety measures and information even beyond the legal requirements. Afterwards, the participants took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions and to discuss and inspect the safety report.

Wittmund District Administrator Holger Heymann, Friedeburg Mayor Helfried Goetz and representatives of the district's disaster control authority also took part in the cavern operator's information session for neighbors. They were available to answer questions from interested residents about the organization and implementation of disaster control in the Wittmund district and the importance of the safety report.

The updated safety report of STORAG ETZEL from 2017 can be found here.
Appendices of the 2017 safety report can be found here.
TÜV expert opinion on the impact on the neighborhood can be found here.