Location: Stublach, Cheshire
Storage Use: 16 environmentally controlled packaged equipment housings
As North Sea oil and gas reserves are depleted, the UK is becoming increasingly reliant on imported and stored natural gas to meet its requirements - and new storage facilities are urgently required. Storengy UK Ltd part of the GDF SUEZ Group is developing a new underground natural gas storage facility at Stublach in Cheshire. It will be one of the principal UK storage facilities and one of the largest in Europe. Environmentally controlled equipment housing
A total of 28 caverns will be developed using a solution mining process, which involves drilling a borehole and injecting highpressure water into the strata to dissolve the salt beds and create a cavity for natural gas
storage. The brine extracted during the process will be used by INEOS, one of the world's largest chemicals
companies, to produce chlorine at its nearby plants. The first caverns are due to be commissioned in 2013.
Costain Oil, Gas and Process Limited is the main contractor for the solution mining element of the project, with
ABB providing all the electrical switchgear and variable speed drives. The site required high-quality equipment
housings rated for a 30-year life.
Alan Leadbetter, Technical Director at Storengy UK Ltd, says: "A detailed tendering process was conducted to select the best supplier for these buildings. Portastor was chosen because it offered the best value and the technical compliance we were looking for - and could tailor its buildings to meet our specification.
"We chose factory-manufactured buildings to simplify our on-site activities and remove construction work from the potentially risky site area, where poor weather can often disrupt construction activities. The off-site construction method is cleaner and safer and the products are fully tested in the factory before they arrive on our site. The building work can also be done by Portastor in tandem with site preparations and on site civil work. Plus, the completed buildings can be held safely by Portastor until we are ready to receive them. Overall, it accelerates the whole programme."
Portastor supplied 16 environmentally controlled packaged equipment housings for the project. This included three large substation buildings to house electrical switchgear for the site and two others containing variable speed drives for the ten brine and water pumps. Another building is fitted out as a control room for the whole facility. The remaining ten smaller buildings are well-head control cubicles, housing equipment and instrumentation used to control the solution mining process.
All of the control equipment, switchgear and instrumentation was fully installed and integrated by Portastor at its manufacturing facility in York. The buildings were pre-cabled and fully tested in this controlled factory environment, before being delivered to site for simple and rapid installation.
To provide a more complete solution for the packaged substations, Portastor has also supplied the transformer compound and canopies, as well as the above-ground cable basements. The substation buildings are located on support columns providing a two metre clearance to allow the electrical cables to enter via the floor without the need for intrusive and expensive groundworks.
Alan Leadbetter continues: "Everything ran to schedule and Portastor delivered the equipment housings on the agreed date, keeping our programme on track. The buildings were delivered and installed with no problems and we are very happy with them. They are all individually tailored to the requirements of the project and we have been very pleased with the whole process and the service from Portastor."
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