The shale revolution has changed the role of energy for the US. In Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, natural gas liquids (NGLs) found in wet gas has the potential to have a large major impact on the petrochemical industry and expansion in the region. However, due to lack of a local market in using NGLs such as ethane, this product is either left in the gas stream for sale or exported to regions that have infrastructure in place to use it. State officials in the region realize the need to enhance economic growth with this natural resource, and have a vision to create a strong infrastructure supporting NGL production, storage, trading, and pipeline infrastructure in the Appalachian basin.
The Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium (AONGRC) was tasked with the critical first step in this plan – determining storage potential of the various subsurface stratigraphic layers in the areas of interest along and adjacent to the Ohio River from southwest Pennsylvania to eastern Kentucky, and along the Kanawha River in West Virginia.
The research team looked at best storage candidates of salt caverns, mined-rock caverns, and sandstone reservoirs in depleted gas fields or gas storage fields, looking at specific criteria of each. After a year of study, the team identified three storage prospects, having top-rated geologic intervals or reservoirs with possible stacked potential.
The AONGRC study determined there are many storage options that can be utilized for NGL storage. The report is one of the first geologic studies for liquids storage potential. All data and the final report can be found at the Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium website.