Akzo Nobel and two other Dutch companies—Gastransport Services and energy provider Nuon—have announced plans to develop an underground gas storage facility in salt caverns close to the village of Zuidwending in the north of the Netherlands.
Since 1967, Akzo Nobel's salt business has been extracting brine at the location to supply its Delfzijl salt manufacturing plant, and has over that time accumulated a wealth of expertise about geological conditions at the site.
The facility will comprise four enormous caverns in the salt layer, which begins 200 meters below the surface and is up to three kilometers thick.
The caverns will be created by controlled mining at a depth of more than a kilometer and will have stable walls that are totally impermeable to gas.
With construction set to start in 2005, the EUR 300 million facility should become operational in 2010.
Primarily intended as a buffer to meet unexpected peaks in demand, the facility will be able to store 180 million cubic meters of gas and will substantially improve the supply of gas to the Dutch market.
(Released: September 24, 2003)