WIT Press

Analysis of Russian UGS capacity in Europe


Free (open access)


Volume 1 (2016), Issue 4



Page Range

313 - 321

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Gas is the fuel of choice in Europe for heating, and many expect that gas consumption will continue to increase in the future. On the contrary, European indigenous production decreases, yielding needs to import natural gas primarily from Russia. Travelling long distances from production sites, gas deliveries come by pipelines. Most of them, having operated for decades, have almost depleted their design lifetime, and before long will tend (or have already implemented) to reduce nominal flow pressure and thus flow capacities. To compensate sufficiently for gas peak demands avoiding long, costly and sometimes not practical procedures of changing out pipes, it is suggested to examine the effect of gas storage at European strategic locations to ensure the balance between gas demand and supply.

Along with storing gas in a liquid form as LNG, stipulated by need in spacious plants and infrastructure, Underground Gas Storages (UGS) near to the customers are studied and are seen as the most practical way of natural gas preservation in a gaseous form. Conditions provided, pressurized gas is held in underground facilities at key locations, so that it can rapidly be transported to desired regions.

Depending on a number of factors, and to suit the different gas supply needs, various types of UGSs are distinguished as follows:


  • Gas storage in depleted fields.
  • Gas storages in a water-bearing structures.
  • Gas storages in salt dome formations.


The paper outlooks UGSs across Western and Eastern Europe with focus on the available capacity of the biggest gas supplier to EU-Gazprom Group Company and its storage capacities. An investigation is done to demonstrate the recent change in storage volumes rented and owned, and change in the geog- raphy of storages involved.

Applying technical and economic criteria, the study shows a need of Russian gas to Europe and a need of European UGS facilities for Russian gas.


European gas demand, Russian gas export, underground gas storage.