Inergy: 'Storage is not new'
WATKINS GLEN—Inergy, LP representatives and proponents spoke about the need and safety of the proposed $40 million liquid petroleum gas storage and transfer station in Reading, Wednesday, April 13.
The forum drew some 225 people on the subject. Company representatives were present to answer questions about different aspects of the project, including the brine pond, safety, and traffic. The project proposes to store propane and butane in two underground salt caverns at the U.S. Salt facility on the west side of Seneca Lake.
Bill Moler, senior vice president of Inergy Midstream, said the company wants to store 2.1 million barrels of liquid gas at the Reading facility. He explained one cavern, or gallery, would house 1.5 million barrels of propane and the other would hold 600,000 barrels of butane.
Moler explained New York State Electric and Gas currently stores natural gas in the cavern for butane. He added many people don’t know the caverns have already been used for gas storage; TEPPCO stored over 3 million barrels of liquid gas in the caverns from 1964 to 1984.
“I’m proud you don’t know natural gas is stored there,” he said. He explained that means the industry is operating safely.
He added the caverns need fluid in them at all times to keep up structural integrity. Moler explained the caverns have been filled with brine for 100 years.
Moler also addressed Marcellus Shale. He said Inergy does not drill for natural gas and that the project is not dependent on Marcellus Shale drilling coming to the state.
He added the facility will be used to store gas in the area for when it is needed in the winter. Moler said, “storage aids in price control.” He added New York has some of the highest propane costs during the winter.
Moler said this project would create eight to 10 full-time jobs and over 50 construction jobs.
Addressing concerns about natural gas contaminating Seneca Lake, Moler pointed out the two caverns are around 2,000 feet below the bottom of Seneca Lake. He explained the two caverns are 2,040 and 2,830 feet below the surface.
Moler also talked about the brine pond, which would be located between Seneca Lake and the Route 14 and 14A junction. According to Inergy, it would hold 91.98 million gallons of brine. He explained the pond would be built on a six percent grade. He added the pond would be double lined, with leak detection. Moler said if the brine pond were to leak, the salty water would be moved back into a cavern or to U.S. Salt and made into salt.
Roland Penta, owner of Phelps Sungas and chairperson of the Natural Propane Gas Association, said propane is not listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a toxic substance. He added the Clean Water Act lists propane as a clean fuel.
Another topic was traffic increasing. Moler said natural gas train transportation would only increase by one train daily, round trip from Corning to Watkins Glen. He explained there is already truck and train traffic coming to Watkins Glen for liquid gas.