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In Response to “IBM’s Battery 500 Project”

Written by Michael Vrtis President of Realgy Energy Services in response to “IBM’s Battery 500 project”

The known amount of natural gas in the US has increased over the last 5 years to the point that it now represents over 20% of all the US’s energy reserves (remember some call the US the Saudi Arabia of coal). The natural gas recoverable by the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a game changer for the US.

Map of Shale Gas in the US courtesy of US EIA (July 2011)

There is discussion among business leaders (not politicians) that the conversion to natural gas vehicles and investment in natural gas distribution could reduce oil imports over 60% within 5 years! This is not a political aspiration it’s business.

How has the electric energy industry responded?

Well electricity and natural gas have always been competitors through technology.  Natural gas heating applications have been constantly targeted by electric heating. Electric motors have been challenged by natural gas driven engines. Large electric driven air conditioning systems have competed with natural gas driven absorption technology.

So given that natural gas resources (from fracking) has allowed natural gas to truly challenge gasoline as a transportation fuel I am not surprised that an electric option will not be far behind!

Let’s keep competing.

Huffington Post, Tech “EV’s Holy Grail: 500 Miles on a Single Charge”

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So what exactly is Natural Gas Storage?

Natural gas as you know or may not know is a colorless, odorless gas that can be stored in a number of different ways for an indefinite period of time. Natural gas that is transported through the pipelines is not always needed right away, and is put into storage for later use. Most natural gas in the United States is stored in depleted natural gas or oil fields underground. These underground storage fields take advantage of existing wells, gathering systems and pipeline connections. Natural Aquifers, Salt caverns and abandoned mines are also used to store natural gas.

Types of Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities

The demand for natural gas is normally higher in the winter than in the summer. This is mostly due to the fact that most homes and organizations use natural gas for heating in the winter. The stored natural gas delivered during the summer months normally at a lower price again due to supply and demand, is ready and available for use during the increased demand of the winter months. The natural gas in storage can also be used as insurance against natural disasters or other unforeseen accidents which may affect the production or delivery of natural gas.

Before 1992 natural gas was a regulated commodity and storage was required for the operational requirements of the pipelines to meet the needs of the utilities. In 1992 the Federal Regulatory Commission introduced Order 636 which opened up the natural gas market to deregulation. What Order 636 did was make storage available to industry participants for commercial reason. For example Realgy Energy Services Storage program which stores gas when prices are low, and withdraws it when prices are high.

Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities in the Lower 48 States

Most utilities and industry participants pocket the savings from storing gas at a lower rate and sell it at an increased rate for a profit. What makes Realgy Energy Services Storage program unique is that the savings from stored gas is always passed along to our customers.

Realgy Energy Services offers the Summer Storage Program to our customers to help offset the cost of winter natural gas usage. Under the program customers put away 20% of their historic usage into storage at the lower summer rates to be used in the winter when the price of natural gas normally increases.

If you would like more information on The Realgy Energy Services Storage Program you can contact one of our Energy Brokers at (877) 300-6747 or check out our website


U.S Energy Information Administration The Basics of Underground Natural Gas Storage

NaturalGas.Org Storage of Natural Gas

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