The idea of building a natural gas storage hub in the region continues to gain traction. West Virginia University is set to release a report this week that explores the geologic possibilities of storing liquid natural gas products in underground reservoirs.
Natural gas industry players and researchers gathered this week to hear about results of a new study exploring possibilities of building big underground gas storage systems in the region.
“There is a true opportunity in front of us but time is of the essence,” said MIT alumnus and director of the West Virginia University Energy Institute, Brian Anderson. “We don’t want to let this opportunity slip through our fingers.”
Anderson spoke to about 100 workshop attendees. He reported that the WVU study found three types of geologic formations in the region where gas products like ethane, propane and butane can be stored. The goal, he explained, would be to create reliably-priced, steady sources of feedstock for the petrochemical industry -- a move researchers and lawmakers hope would lure industry to the region.
“There have been a lot of innovations in smart manufacturing, efficient manufacturing, and lower environmental footprint manufacturing in the the chemical sector that can now be rolled into a new rebirth of the petrochemical industry in our region,” Anderson said.
He and other industry experts are hopeful that tens of thousands of jobs could come with industry development. They said building a gas storage hub is the first step to making that possible. Anderson said now that areas have been explored where gas could be stored underground, the next phase of research, which has already been funded, is exploring how to engineer such a hub.