PGNiG to boost gas storage capacity
Poland's PGNiG said June 30 it had executed plans for an 800mn m3 expansion of its Wierzchowice gas storage facility in Lower Silesia, increasing the national gas reserve by as much as 25%, to up to 4bn m3.
Wierzchowice's maximum working capacity will rise to 2.1bn m3 following the upgrades, representing around 50% of Polish gas storage capacity.
PGNiG has allocated more than 385mn zlotys ($85.5mn) to the expansion, which will also see Wierzchowice's maximum injection rate rise, from 14.4mn m3/day to 19.2mn m3/day, while its receipt capacity will rise to 24mn m3/day from 14.4mn m3/day.
Wierzchowice's remodelling will comprise three new injection and offtake boreholes, a gas drying installation and new gas compression units. The upgrades could take up to 30 months, meaning the extra capacity will not be ready in time to help Poland meet the EU's 80% storage capacity directive, which comes into force November 1.
Not that Poland is having any problems meeting the target in any case. GIE's aggregated gas storage inventory suggests Polish gas stores were at 97.3% of overall capacity as of June 28, the highest of any European country in its records.
PGNiG executives say Poland was quick off the mark buying up gas for storage at the beginning of this year. Poland has also benefited from a long-term national storage strategy over the past decade, which has resulted in a near-100% capacity boost, PGNiG says. In 2021, PGNiG marked the launch of an all-new gas cavern storage centre at Kosakowo.
The underground gas stores are managed by Gas Storage Poland, a PGNiG subsidiary, though the parent company owns the assets directly. Due to its forthcoming takeover by PKN Orlen, which will also absorb Polish refiner Lotos Group, PGNiG has been ordered to relinquish control of Gas Storage Poland for competition reasons.
Volumes at Wierzchowice are stored in a depleted gas reservoir that shut down in the mid-1990s. PGNiG operates five reservoir storages and two cavern sites, with the latter offering particularly high injection and extraction rates, PGNiG says.
Iowna Waksmundzka Olejniczak, president of PGNiG, said: "In order for these investments to have a real impact on the security of supply, adequate gas supplies must be accumulated.
"That is why we are equally determined to implement the principle of full warehouse crowding before the heating season. This year, due to the geopolitical situation, we started the process of filling the warehouses earlier, and today they are almost 100% full.