Commercial natural gas storage services have commenced at the Ryckman Creek Gas Storage Facility in Uinta County, WY, and customers have begun injecting gas at an aggregate rate exceeding 230 MMcf/d, Ryckman Creek Resources LLC said Tuesday.

"We expect to reach a total injection rate of nearly 300 MMcf/d by September," said Jeff Foutch, chief commercial officer of Ryckman parent Peregrine Midstream Partners LLC. "Our customers are doing mostly daily parks right now through the end of this month in anticipation of base-loading injections starting Sept. 1 through the end of October. Depending on the weather and the forward curve, we could very well see gas injections into November as well.

"We anticipate an active fall-winter storage season, especially since we are connected to pretty much all of the pipes coming out of Opal. We also will be holding an open season this fall for additional FSS [firm storage service] capacity that will be available next spring."

Ryckman has operational interconnections with Northwest Pipeline, Overthrust Pipeline, Questar and Kern River, and a fifth interconnection, with Ruby Pipeline, is scheduled to begin service in late September. All of the pipelines are connected to the Opal Hub. Receipts and deliveries with Cheyenne Plains, Colorado Interstate Gas, Wyoming Interstate Co. and Rockies Express can also be scheduled through the Overthrust pipeline, Ryckman said. Combined meter capacity is in excess of 1 Bcf/d.

Construction of the multi-cycle storage facility began last September, following a nonbinding open season for firm service in 2010 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 4, 2010). Pad gas injections started on May 1 (see Daily GPI, May 10), followed by injection and withdrawal testing during July and August to commission the facility. Ryckman Creek received final tariff approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 18.

Initial working gas capacity for the first phase is 18 Bcf for the 2012-2013 gas storage season, which would increase to 25 Bcf by spring 2013 and 35 Bcf by spring 2014. A planned second expansion would increase total working gas capacity to 50 Bcf or more, depending on market demand. Maximum phase one injection capability is to be 350 MMcf/d with a maximum withdrawal capability of 480 MMcf/d.

The storage facility has six injection/withdrawal wells; two re-entry observation wells and two re-entry/recompletion saltwater disposal wells. It also has a central gas/liquids separation and processing facility, almost five miles of eight-inch diameter storage field flow lines; nearly four miles of 16-inch diameter header pipeline; one unidirectional and four bi-directional pipeline interconnects and meter stations; and 30,000 hp of electric-drive compression.

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