Duke Energy Corp. subsidiary Piedmont Natural Gas said Friday it plans to build a $250 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Robeson County, NC.
The 1 Bcf/d facility would more reliably supply “natural gas during peak usage days, when extremely low temperatures create a higher-than-normal demand for natural gas,” the company said.
Piedmont said storage capacity would require 50 acres of a 685-acre property it already owns. Construction is expected to begin next summer, with estimated completion in the second half of 2021. The facility would be the fourth LNG facility operated by Piedmont, which has other projects in Nashville, TN; Bentonville, NC; and Huntersville, NC.
Piedmont serves more than one million residential, commercial and industrial customers, and has power plants in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The company said the LNG storage project is expected to create 400 jobs during construction and up to 12 full-time positions to manage operations once the facility enters service. The project could also provide up to $1 million annually in tax revenue for Robeson County, Piedmont said.
The announcement comes at a time when domestic gas production is booming, driven largely by unconventional volumes. Over the last decade, production has increased 34%, reaching 78 Bcf/d at the end of last year. In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration estimated that dry natural gas production will average 81.3 Bcf/d this year and reach 84.5 Bcf/d in 2019.
The high volumes have continued to heat up the LNG market, especially for exports, leaving the United States poised to become one of the world’s largest gas exporters. There is about 24 Bcf/d of U.S. liquefaction capacity either in operation, under construction or approved by both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy (DOE). In total, DOE has approved export licenses for 52.9 Bcf/d.