Brian Maffley – The Salt Lake Tribune
Caverns hollowed out in a Millard County salt dome will begin storing propane and butane next month, potentially opening new market opportunities for Utah’s natural gas industry, which has been hobbled by low commodity prices.
State regulators on Wednesday approved liquid-fuel storage operations at the Magnum Gas Storage Project. The project has been in the works for nearly six years while Magnum has used solution mining to carve out 2-million-barrel caverns in a two-mile-wide salt deposit, company general manager Sam Quigley told the Board of Oil, Gas and Mining.
Next week, Magnum hopes to begin filling the first of three caverns designed to hold natural gas liquids, or NGLs.
“The market is seasonal. Injection season hits April 1 and withdrawal season starts Oct. 1,” James said.
But no fuel will be put into the caverns until they pass mechanical integrity tests overseen by the Division of Water Quality. The first such test is scheduled April 3.
The bore holes are protected by four cement casings, two of which are anchored into the salt dome. The casings are built to withstand pressures exceeding 3,000 psi to ensure that no liquids penetrate the strata overlying the dome
The project, which state oil and gas regulators say is the first of its kind in Utah, is unfolding under state trust lands 10 miles north of Delta and hardly a mile south of the Intermountain Power Project, the massive coal-fired generating station that is expected to convert to natural gas.