Underground hydrocarbons storages in Poland: actual investments and prospects

Paweł Henryk Karnkowski, Grzegorz Czapowski


A b s t r a c t. Poland has the limited gas and oil resources. Main hydrocarbons supplies are delivered to Poland mostly from Russia by oil and gas pipelines. Very large length of these pipelines as well as the local considerable wearing of devices induces the necessity of reserves storage. Geological conditions in Poland and a considerable quantity of exhausted gas deposits enabling in nearest years to the construction of underground gas storages (UGS) suggest the new investments in this sector of petroleum industry. Capacity amount of present active UGS is 1.58×109 m3 but after finalizing of storages their volume will achieve 2.8×109 m3. Special attention is paid to the Wierzchowice UGS (the biggest one in Poland) and to caverns leaching within the Zechstein salts cavern underground gas storages (CUGS) Mogilno and Kosakowo. Reservoirs of cavern type (expensive under construction) are a very efficient, modern source of gas system supply, particularly in periods of the seasonal demand fluctuations for gas — a very high during the winter season in the central and the northern Europe. Only caverns in salts allow to store both the gas and the liquid hydrocarbons. Construction of the UGS refers mostly to exhausted gas fields, discovered and exploited by the Polish Oil and Gas Company. Experience and capital of the state company located it as a leader in Poland in the field of construction and exploitation of underground storages. Their construction has the minimum influence on the environment. Utilization of exhausted hydrocarbons deposits (often with the existing mining infrastructure) is not almost at all troublesome for a local population and the environment and it offers considerable practical and economic benefits. The economical boom in the oil and gas market during last years creates new challenges for construction and exploitation of hydrocarbons underground storages.

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