Albury Gas Storage, Surrey, United Kingdom

Star Energy has shelved its long-standing £134m Albury Gas Storage Project, which was to be constructed in Surrey, UK. The company announced in June 2011 that the drilling results of the appraisal well that was completed in April 2010 proved the project to be economically unfeasible.

The company is instead planning to go ahead with another small project where the existing gas in the field will be harnessed and transported via lorry rather than the previously proposed pipeline construction connecting the grid. Star Energy hopes to get approval for this project from the local Parish Councillors for the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is increasing in popularity in the UK.

The company will reconsider the Albury Gas Storage project in the future if further advancements in technology reduces development costs and makes the project economically feasible.

UK LNG market

 

The Albury Plant was proposed as part of the company's plan to build up storage facilities in order to cope with fluctuations in demand for gas.

The sharp increase in gas prices seen in the UK in recent years has happened to a lesser extent in Europe because it has more gas storage, which means that gas can be bought and stored when the market price is low and resold at a later date when the price has increased. This way the gas storage company can make a profit while helping keep prices on an even keel, because at times of high demand there would be additional supplies to draw on.

"Star Energy's gas storage infrastructure was planned to complement its facilities at Humbly Grove."

Star Energy planned to set up the gas storage infrastructure to complement its facilities at Humbly Grove in Alton, Hampshire, UK, which opened in November 2005, with a capacity of ten billion cubic feet.

This facility operates by taking gas from the national transmission system at Barton Stacey via a 17 mile pipeline and then depositing the gas in the Humbly Grove oilfield. The gas is stored for later use, but increases the pressure in the oil reservoir will boost its useful production life by a further ten years (it has a 20-year lifetime).

The gas odorant, which is usually an alkane sulphide, is removed using a granular catalyst adsorbent prior to storage. Star Energy will need to take note of possible changes in the gas reservoirs it uses because of cycling pressures during charging and depletion of the reservoir.

Demand and construction

The Albury Gas Storage Project was to be constructed in stages. Phase I, also known as Albury 1, was to include the construction of a gas storage facility, drilling of four development wells with connections to the existing Albury well site, a gas processing facility and laying a six mile pipeline.

The initial proposal was to build a gas storage processing facility at Albury Park, but this met opposition because it was a part of an area of outstanding natural beauty. The plans were revised to build the processing facility at Furze Copse, West Sussex.

The gas storage reservoir will be in the sandstone geology of the now depleted Albury Field, which is 2,100ft below sea level, providing six billion cubic feet of storage.

A second phase to this storage reservoir could potentially provide 24 billion cubic feet of space.

The gas processing facility and a temporary construction camp was to be built on a 10ha site, taking up 3.5ha.

A temporary pipe store and contractors' staging yard was to be built at East Clandon.

Pipeline details

"The first stage will involve drilling four 10,000ft development wells at Albury."

The six mile pipeline will be laid in two sections. The first five mile section will be laid underground at a depth of 1m from the Albury Well site to the gas processing site at Furze Copse. The pipeline will then be routed underground west of New Road and then to the east of the road and under the A25, continuing north to the east of Sherbourne Farm.

The width of the pipeline will be 26m. The second section will include an additional one mile (1.8km) pipeline connecting the gas processing facility to the local gas grid and an above-ground connection to West Horsley to connect to the gas grid.

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