Following up on a request to FERC in June, Unocal Midstream & Trade (UMT) is assessing the feasibility of developing the first-ever bedded salt natural gas storage facility in Morgan County, CO. Unocal Windy Hill Gas Storage LLC asked the Commission for permission to conduct subsurface testing four months ago (see NGI, July 5).

According to the Unocal Corp. subsidiary, the 6,500-foot test well will determine whether the facility could be built. The test well will obtain approximately 600 feet of core through the Permian salts at a depth of 6,000 feet to assess the thickness, quality, quantity and mechanical properties of the salt. The same well bore will be tested to determine the brine injection capacity of Cretaceous-age sandstones at depths of 5,100-5,700 feet.

“With the immediate demand for high deliverability storage services currently facing Denver markets and the Front Range, Unocal views this test well as a significant first step in developing the infrastructure to meet those needs,” said UMT president Joe Blount.

Once the test well is evaluated, Windy Hill Gas Storage would hold an open season to determine interest in storage capacity. The open season is tentatively scheduled for 1Q2005.

Located near Brush, in northeastern Colorado, the Windy Hill facility would be developed on Unocal’s 1,280-acre site as an interstate facility in three phases. Phase 1 would offer 3 Bcf of working gas capacity with an injection rate of 100 MMcf/d and a withdrawal rate of 400 MMcf/d. The proposed design would ultimately provide up to 9 Bcf of high deliverability storage to shippers at the Cheyenne Greensburg Hubs along with local Denver markets, through proposed pipeline connections with Cheyenne Plains, CIG and Xcel Public Co. Future interconnections are proposed with Southern Star, AIG Ralston and KM Interstate.

Currently, there are eight storage facilities operating in Colorado, three of which are located in Morgan County, with a total working gas capacity of 40.62 Bcf. A ninth storage facility is out of service, and a new project has been proposed by AES Corp.

Unocal’s notice to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding its testing activities may be found in Docket No. CP04-367-000. For more information, contact Steve Hanshaw at (281) 287-5804 (

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