Fortified Geomembranes and Dike Expansion Keep Gas Flowing in the Northeast United States by S.N. Valero and B.W. Fraser was presented at GeoAmericas 2016 (10 – 13 April 2016, Miami).
ABSTRACT: FORTIFIED GEOMEMBRANES IN NORTHEAST US GAS FIELDS
The owner of an underground gas storage facility required upgrades to their brine storage reservoir. The facility stores gas in salt caverns using saturated brine to equalize the caverns as gas is transferred in and out. The uncovered reservoir was more than 30 years old and was fitted with only a single geomembrane liner that had reached the end of its design life. In addition, the capacity of the pond was no longer sufficient due to growth of the caverns and rain/snow water dilution of the brine. Adding to the challenges, upgrades had to be designed, permitted and constructed in less than six months to get the facility back on line before the next winter gas storage cycle. The authors used the latest geosynthetic materials to craft a design-build solution to increase brine storage capacity, upgrade the liner system and cover the reservoir to reduce future brine dilution.
1. BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
The owner of an underground gas storage facility in the northeast US was faced with several problems related to their surface brine storage reservoir. The facility is designed to store gas in underground salt caverns and uses saturated brine to equalize/stabilize the caverns as gas is transferred in and out. The brine reservoir is critical to operation of the facility as it safely stores brine at the surface until it is needed in the caverns.
The nearly 60 million liter (500,000 barrel) capacity brine reservoir had been in continuous operation for more than 30 years. It was fitted with a single, reinforced polyethylene geomembrane liner that had reached the end of its design life. In addition, the capacity of the pond was no longer adequate due to natural growth of the caverns and rain/snow water dilution of the brine in the pond was exacerbating this situation. Dilution of the brine concentration is not desirable as it leads to increased growth rate of the underground salt caverns. Cavern growth rates and total size are closely regulated by government and if left unchecked could lead to premature closure of the facility….
The full paper is available via the three-volume digital proceedings set.