WASHINGTON (MNI) – The following is the text of the report by the
U.S. Energy Information Administration on working gas capacity in the
United States:

EIA estimates that the demonstrated peak working gas capacity for
U.S. underground working natural gas storage for the Lower 48 states
rose by 3 percent, or 136 billion cubic feet (Bcf), between April 2011
and April 2012. It then totaled 4,239 Bcf. Most of the increase came in
the form of more use of traditional storage in the West (56 Bcf) and
salt cavern storage in the Producing region (58 Bcf). Salt cavern
storage allows rapid injection and withdrawal to respond to market
conditions and other short-term events. Demonstrated peak working
natural gas in the East rose by only 14 Bcf (less than 1 percent), but
this small increase coincided with the rapid growth of production from
the Marcellus Shale.

Working gas design capacity increased 110 Bcf in the lower-48
States from April 2011 through April 2012. The largest increases
occurred in the Producing region, where working gas design capacity
increased 52 Bcf, or nearly 4 percent since 2011. Capacity additions in
the West region posted relatively larger year-on-year increases, rising
nearly 7 percent, or 48 Bcf.

Increases in working gas design capacity since April 2011 resulted
from the completion of four new storage facilities in addition to
approximately 50 expansion projects. Four new storage facilities
accounted for nearly 38 Bcf of the year-on-year increase in working gas
design capacity, and the remaining 72-Bcf increase in design capacity
resulted from other storage expansion projects. In the West region,
working gas design capacities of 2 new facilities totaled nearly 23 Bcf,
and other net increases in working gas design capacity totaled about 26
Bcf. Expansions in the Producing region included the completion of two
new salt dome facilities with working gas design capacity of nearly 15
Bcf, in addition to net working gas design capacity additions at
existing salt dome facilities totaling about 45 Bcf. Non-salt dome
facilities in the Producing region posted a net decrease of nearly 8 Bcf
as a result of reductions in capacity and other adjustments, since April

Demonstrated peak working gas capacity relative to design capacity
has increased in each of the regions since April 2011. This pattern of
growth occurred because growth in capacity utilization outstripped
growth in capacity. In fact, this dynamic resulted in the 2012
demonstrated peak capacity in the Producing region exceeding the working
gas design capacity reported last year at this time, as a significant
amount of the newly available storage capacity has already found
considerable usage.

Demonstrated peak working natural gas capacity as a percentage of
working gas design capacity is lower in the West region than the East
and Producing regions for several reasons. The West region has several
still-active fields whose primary role is not seasonal storage. These
include fields used for pipeline load balancing and fields that are
being drawn down to be taken out of service. Also, some fields in the
West region have large design capacities, but have infrastructure
constraints such as limited pipeline and compression capacity that limit
actual storage utilization and peak capacity.

The status of several previously inactive natural gas storage
fields changed since April 2011, with differing impacts on working gas
design capacity. The Pecan Station storage field, in Texas, resumed
operations in 2012, contributing about 1 Bcf to the year-on-year
increase in working gas design capacity, since being categorized as an
inactive storage field in April 2011. Two other previously inactive
storage facilities were removed from the Natural Gas Annual Respondent
Query System for 2012, because they are no longer being operated as
natural gas storage facilities. The remaining base and native gas
volumes in Brown’s Creek and Lake Facilities, in West Virgina, are being
withdrawn and reported as natural gas production. The removal of these
fields from the query system does not affect working gas design capacity
or peak storage estimates in 2011 or 2012.

** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **