Appalachian Storage Hub

Subterranean ethane storage and distribution hub for Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky

June 2017 - The Appalachian region is being touted as a potential storage hub, using salt or limestone caverns to store natural gas liquids (NGLs) and ethane, similar to another U.S. hub that exists in Mont Belvieu, Texas supplying ethane feedstock for Houstonís petrochemical industry.

While this Appalachian Storage Hub is a multi-state approach that gained official support by the governors of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia in October 2015 (with Kentucky now in the mix) one such storage area at the forefront are multiple caverns in the Salina salt formation, 6,500-feet (1.2 miles) underground in Monroe County, Ohio, for storing up to 168 million gallons of ethane and NGLs near the Ohio River.

blue racer plant
Looking across the Ohio River from the Blue Racer plant in West Virginia toward the salt cavern storage area in Monroe County, Ohio

These NGL storage caverns could also support a giant ethane cracker under serious consideration at Dilles Bottom, where ethane could be moved through pipelines into the underground storage caverns. While butane and propane are more commonly stored in above ground tanks, ethane is more volatile and typically stored underground.

above ground NGL storage tanks
Above ground storage tanks

Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale ethane currently moves through pipelines to storage sites at Mont Belvieu and Sarnia, Canada or is mixed-in with the natural gas stream to be burned.

ohio pipeline


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