Gas storage has been instrumental in providing natural gas in critical times. Security of supply, be it to manage harsh winters or political crises, has been the strongest driver in addition to increasing use of gas for power generation for the market. However, high capital costs and diminishing global gas prices have deterred growth considerably. Even so, the global market has grown and is likely to continue to do so during the forecast period, 2014–2018. Working gas capacity forecasts are provided for the total as well as regional markets. It provides a comprehensive insight into the market trends with a special focus on emerging hotspots, regional regulations and business ecosystems.
-The global gas storage market witnessed steady growth during 2010–2012. It is expected to grow progressively during the forecast period, 2014–2018.
-The total working gas capacity in 2013 was at billion cubic meters (bcm), and is set to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of % to reach bcm by 2018.
-Gas storage facilities are mostly concentrated in three regions, namely, North America, Europe and the CIS countries, including Russia. The working gas capacity in these regions is nearly % of the total global capacity, with only % available in the rest of the world.
-Depleted reservoirs dominate the gas storages with % working gas volume, followed by aquifers with %, LNG storage tanks at % and salt cavity at %.
-During the forecast period, the companies would look for salt cavities because of their annual multi-cycle operation as opposed to single-cycle operation in depleted reservoirs and aquifers. Therefore, the salt cavity segment is expected to increase its share by the end of the period.
-Also, LNG storage tanks segment will also experience an increase due to the growing demand for LNG, especially in the APAC region, with Japan being the largest importer and Australia being one of the largest exporters in the world.
-Major drivers for gas storage have been identified as seasonal demand, especially during peak winters, security of supply and strategic stock for emergency situations.
-While the market is expected to grow steadily, many projects are being shelved due to lack of funds and absence of government support despite high capital costs.
-Reducing gas prices, especially in North America due to the shale gas boom, leave gas operators with lower margins; hence, investment in storage capacity is lessening.
-Most of the new storage capacity is set to come from emerging markets like China, the Middle East and Latin America. China is likely to have the highest growth due to its expected shale gas production and subsequent demand for gas storage.
-China, the United States, Middle East and Australia have been identified as the global hotspots for the next five years. Australia will largely contribute to the increasing LNG storage capacity.
-Most of the countries have proper regulations in place for the construction and operation of gas storage facilities. A large number of these facilities are open to third party access based on regulated or negotiated tariffs, depending upon the regime prevalent in the country.
-Gazprom has the largest working gas capacity in the world, a cumulative capacity of bcm, % of the total global volume.
-This is followed by Ukrtransgaz with bcm, while the Italian company STOGIT has the largest capacity in Europe at bcm.
-Gazprom is likely to increase its share in the European market, to secure its gas exports to the continent, which could be in jeopardy owing to current political conflicts.
-Geopolitics plays an important role in the overall gas market, thereby affecting the gas storage market significantly.
-As the Russia-Ukraine conflict intensifies, the business environment in the region has become unconducive, the ripple effects of which have been observed in Europe as well due to its import relations with Russia.