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Natural Gas Storage

Natural Gas Storage occurs underground in depleted oil and gas fields, aquifer reservoirs, and salt caverns. Liquefied Natural Gas is stored above ground in tanks.


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What is Natural Gas Storage?

Natural gas is stored during periods of lower demand and withdrawn during periods of higher demand. Natural gas storage is most often used to meet seasonal demand.

Natural gas is stored underground and under pressure in three types of facilities1234

  • Depleted Natural Gas or Oil Fields – The most common storage method is in depleted natural gas or oil fields, typically close to consumption centers. By converting a field into a storage facility, companies can take advantage of existing wells, gathering systems, and pipeline connections. They are the most common sites because of their wide availability.
  • Aquifer reservoir – An aquifer is suitable for gas storage if the water-bearing sedimentary rock formation is overlaid with an impermeable cap rock. While the geology of aquifers is similar to depleted production fields, their use in gas storage usually requires more base (cushion) gas and greater monitoring of withdrawal and injection performance. Deliverability rates may be enhanced by the presence of an active water drive.
  • Salt caverns – These storage facilities provide very high withdrawal and injection rates relative to their working gas capacity. Base gas requirements are relatively low. The large majority of salt cavern storage facilities have been developed in salt dome formations located in the Gulf Coast states. Cavern construction is more costly than depleted field conversions when measured on the basis of dollars per thousand cubic feet of working gas capacity, but the ability to perform several withdrawal and injection cycles each year reduces the per-unit cost of each thousand cubic feet of gas injected and withdrawn.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is stored above grounds in storage tanks that are specially designed to maintain the low temperatures required to keep the gas in liquid form.




The rate at which natural gas is consumed fluctuates from day to day and season to season. For this reason, natural gas storage is an important part of the overall energy system. Storage can also be used to respond to changes in natural gas prices5.



Dive deeper

Recent blog posts about Natural Gas Storage

External resources


Natural Gas Supply Association

International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers

International Gas Union

International Association for Natural Gas 


American Gas Association

Interstate Natural Gas Association of America

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA)

Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE)

European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG)


Gas Technology Institute

Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES)

Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI)

Center for Liquefied Natural gas (CLNG)

Energy Research Insitute of Russian Academy of Sciences

Asia Pacific Energy Research Center (APERC) 


Oil and Gas Journal

Natural Gas Industry B




The Wall Street Journal

The Economist


International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE)


U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Union of Concerned Scientists

American Gas Association (AGA)

David Suzuki Foundation

International Energy Agency (IEA)


Interfax Global Energy


American Petroleum Institute

Union of Concerned Scientists

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)




Natural Gas Europe


Planete Energies

  1. United States Energy Information Administration (2008). Underground natural gas storage. 
  2. Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (n.d.). Underground storage of natural gas 
  3. United States Energy Information Administration (1995). The value of underground storage in today’s natural gas industry.
  4. United States Energy Information Administration (n.d.). The basics of underground natural gas storage.
  5. The National Regulatory Research Institute (1990). Gas storage: Strategy, regulation,and some competitive implications.