Williams to Develop 10 Bcf Storage Facility in Louisiana

To keep up with the demand of its growing power generation portfolio, Williams has leased underground salt caverns in Lafourche Parish, LA, and plans to develop the caverns into a 10 Bcf natural gas storage facility in phases over the next five years. The proposed facility will be connected to several pipeline systems, including Williams' Transco and Texas Gas systems, creating a hub to efficiently manage gas flow, the company said.

Williams said it has entered into a long-term lease agreement with Texas Brine Co. for use of the Chacahoula salt caverns, which are located about 10 miles southwest of Thibodaux, LA. Williams plans to develop a high-deliverability gas storage facility, which will ultimately have a 1 Bcf/d withdrawal capacity. The company said it will market the storage capacity to customers, including its marketing and trading unit, through an open season process.

"Gas deliverability is a key element in meeting the needs of natural gas-fired power generators. We recognize the additional value that we can provide our customers and shareholders by providing innovative, flexible gas storage products and services designed especially for the power industry," said Steve Malcolm, CEO of Williams' energy services group. "The Chacahoula gas storage facility is the first of several planned to expand our natural gas infrastructure in support of our power commitments and natural gas peaking services."

Williams said its energy marketing and trading unit has approximately 15,000 MW in its power portfolio, including power agreements to manage existing power resources and load obligation for four Georgia electric membership cooperatives, as well as long-term tolling agreements with Central Louisiana Electric Co.'s Evangeline and Tenaska-Lindsay Hill Generating Station.

"The high deliverability of salt cavern storage makes it especially appealing for electric generation where the demand for natural gas changes very quickly," explained Phil Scalzo, vice president of gas and power origination for Williams' energy marketing and trading unit. "In developing these storage facilities, our plan is to go beyond the traditional storage applications and to develop products and services that address the power industry needs, which require tremendous flexibility."

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