Project Details

Demonstrating the use of a new design criterion based on salt damage to determine the minimum gas pressure for storing natural gas in salt caverns.

Client: US Department of Energy
Time Span: 2000-2002
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


RESPEC teamed with Bay Gas Storage Company to refine and demonstrate the use of a new design criterion based on salt damage to determine the minimum gas pressure for storing natural gas in salt caverns.  Laboratory tests were performed to derive the site-specific creep, damage, and healing parameters for a continuum constitutive model that was used to assess the stability of compressed natural-gas storage caverns. Core was obtained by Bay Gas Storage Company from a new storage cavern that was developed in the McIntosh salt dome near Mobile, Alabama.  Numerical simulations were performed using the material properties for salt (which were determined from laboratory testing) and the geometrical, operational, and geological model of an existing and a planned storage cavern in the McIntosh Dome.  The simulations were used to establish an operating pressure range for gas storage based on the new design criterion that will result in structurally stable and gas-tight conditions.

This project was a first-time application of a salt damage criterion to determine the minimum allowable gas pressure for a compressed natural-gas cavern.