At Alton, we planned to store natural gas deep underground near Stewiacke, NS. The natural gas would be stored in engineered salt caverns, a proven and safe storage system.
The Alton project has two work sites, a river site on the banks of the Shubenacadie River estuary, and the natural gas storage cavern site about 12 kilometres away.
Building storage caverns
To make natural gas storage caverns, water is pumped from the river site to the cavern site. At the cavern site, water is sent down a drilled well to a depth of about one kilometer where the water slowly washes a salt deposit in a “solution mining” or “brining” process. The water and dissolved salt, called brine, are pumped back to the surface, then piped to the river site for release into the tidal Shubenacadie River estuary at closely monitored levels under the oversight of government regulators.
Natural gas pipeline
Like other natural gas storage facilities across North America, natural gas would flow to and from the Alton site through a pipeline. Natural gas would be delivered to the Alton site when prices are low, like in the summer. Natural gas would be withdrawn from Alton when prices rise, like in the winter.
The environmental assessment for the pipeline was approved in 2013.
Natural gas is a flow through cost to Nova Scotia consumers
This means it is not marked up by the distributor. Local natural gas storage will result in lower natural gas prices for consumers.
Natural gas in Canada
Find out about natural gas in Canada in this new publication from the Canadian Gas Association.