Jemgum natural gas storage: brine transport by ship from February

Jemgum. The construction of the astora storage facility in Jemgum is continuing: as of February astora will utilise two vessels for the brine disposal. The tankers will carry the brine generated during the leaching of the caverns from the storage site to the landing pier in Rysum where the brine will be discharged into the North Sea in accordance with an approved process. Transportation through the brine pipeline as planned originally is still not possible because of the damage that occurred at the beginning of September 2013. “Until the brine transport pipeline has been fully examined, we will transport the brine by ship,” project manager Arkadius Binia explains. “It goes without saying that environment and safety standards take precedence at our company. Therefore, special ships, authorised for brine transport, will be utilised as soon as we have received the necessary permission. Of course, this will entail additional expenditures.”

Filling with gas in the first quarter of 2014

One of the caverns has lately been completed on schedule in recent weeks. The hollow space in the cavern is still full of brine at the moment. The socalled “first gas fill” is set to take place in the first quarter of 2014. To fill the caverns the brine will be displaced by natural gas. To allow the brine to be discharged simultaneously, the brine transport system on the storage site will now be adapted to allow the brine to directly be loaded into the ships. For this purpose, the tanker will be connected directly to the leaching facility by a pipeline, which will be laid near the pumping station over the dyke. A safety clutch makes sure that the brine can only be pumped into the ships if the connector has been securely closed. Until then the brine cannot flow.

Construction work on the company grounds

The first preparations for transporting the brine by ship already began on the astora grounds in December. Together with the engineering company PSE Engineering GmbH from Hanover, astora is setting up a building area to begin with. The modification of the plants is scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2014. This is also true of the necessary work on the outer dyke and in Rysum/at the Knock. “The start of the first gas fill, and with it the draining of the brine from the first caverns, is planned for February 2014,” project manager Binia explains. “Draining the caverns is expected to take 120 days. We are optimistic that this can be carried out according to schedule.”

Examination of the brine transport pipeline continues

On 3rd September 2013 a leak on the brine transport pipeline between Jemgum and the Rysumer Nacken was discovered. The project partners EWE Gasspeicher and astora discontinued the brine transport immediately and informed the relevant authorities. The damaged area, a crack about 13 mm long, was sealed off within 24 hours. In order to examine the entire pipeline, transport of brine through the pipeline remains suspended. Operations will not begin again until the safe transport of brine can be guaranteed. The re-commencement of operations requires the approval of the State Authority for Mining, Energy and Geology (LBEG).

astora GmbH & Co. KG offers intelligent storage solutions from a single source – from the planning and development of natural gas storage facilities through to operation and the marketing of storage capacities. The company’s customers benefit from decades of experience in the technical field, comprehensive market knowledge and personal service. astora is committed to developing clear and simple solutions meeting the highest demands and is one of Europe’s leading storage facility operators. The company markets the capacities of the largest natural gas storage facility in Western Europe, at Rehden in northern Germany, with a working gas volume of more than 4 billion cubic meters. In addition, the company holds capacities in the second-largest storage facility of central Europe at Haidach, Austria. In order to expand its storage before portfolio and to secure natural gas supplies to Europe, the Jemgum natural gas storage facility on the border between Germany and the Netherlands is currently being developed.

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