Petal Planning Second Salt Cavern, More Interconnects

The nation's largest independent salt cavern storage operator plans to grow its capacity with an additional cavern and pipeline interconnects.

Petal Gas Storage (Petal), a subsidiary of Louisiana-based Crystal Oil, plans to expand its high-deliverability salt cavern storage facility near Hattiesburg, MS, by leaching an additional salt cavern with storage capacity of 5 Bcf, of which 3 Bcf would be working gas. The new cavern, combined with the existing 5.2 Bcf cavern (3.2 Bcf working gas) would have a withdrawal capacity of 600 MMcf/d.

The existing facilities at Petal have bi-directional interconnects with both Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Koch Gateway Pipeline through a 20-inch line. The expansion would include additional pipeline facilities with bi-directional interconnects with Transco, Southern Natural Gas and Destin Pipelines. Petal will offer traditional 10-day withdrawal service as well as balancing, forwarding, parking and emergency backup services from all the facility's pipeline interconnections. Petal plans to distribute an open season package outlining details of the expansion and services to be offered in the near future and will also seek FERC authorization for the expansion.

David Hayden, Crystal vice president, said the company is still working on the details of its new interconnects and hopes to have the information included "in our open season package that we would hope to have go out in about three weeks. The Southern Natural pipe is the farthest away, and it's 55 miles from Petal. And we're still looking at several options of ways to get to those pipes." Rates for service have yet to be determined.

"The strategic location of Petal Gas Storage Company's salt cavern storage with its characteristics of high deliverability and high injection rates combined with the opportunity to provide service to five major pipeline systems is an exciting opportunity for Petal and the customers of Petal," said Crystal President Joe Averett. "Including this proposed expansion and the current storage capacity at Petal Gas Storage and Hattiesburg Gas Storage, Crystal will own, through its subsidiaries, 15.8 Bcf of high-deliverability salt cavern natural gas storage."

In January, Crystal became the largest independent salt cavern storage operator in the United States with the acquisition of Petal from CMS Gas Transmission and Storage for $29.5 million. The acquisition gave Crystal's subsidiaries more than 6.7 Bcf of working storage capacity in the area with the ability to deliver in excess of 670 MMcf/d

Joe Fisher, Houston

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