construction
Construction

Gateway's UK  gas storage facility will comprise up to 24 man-made underground storage caverns which will be created by a solution mining process (‘leaching’) in the salt strata beneath the Irish Sea. This involves cycling large amounts of seawater through a salt formation deep beneath the seabed.

Gateway will install a small offshore structure above each cavern location. The structures will be used to accommodate equipment in support of the leaching process during construction (pumps, motors, control systems and ancillary equipment). Two leaching strings will be hung from the deck of the offshore structure to facilitate seawater injection and brine discharge.

The seawater dissolves the salt, leaving an empty space (‘cavern’) in the strata. The brine resulting from this process is brought back to the surface and discharged into the sea via a disperser unit. The developing geometry of the cavern is monitored using an acoustic device which can map the cavern walls as construction proceeds.

The caverns will be connected to an offshore gas ‘ring main’ by a short pipeline with isolation valves. Pipelines and a power cable will connect the offshore facilities to a new Gateway Gas Compression Station located onshore in Barrow-in-Furness. Electrical power to the gas storage facility will be provided via a new cable to be installed at the same time as the offshore pipelines.

Operation

Salt cavern technology is well proven and has been used for liquid and gas storage for many years. When completed, Gateway caverns will have an average spatial volume of approximately one million cubic metres, providing a facility to store a total of 1.52 billion standard cubic metres of working gas.

During operations, the structure will simply host the wellhead above each cavern, along with the necessary control and monitoring equipment. The design is based on a principle of minimal intervention and the monopods are expected to require very few maintenance visits.
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