The Initiative Energien Speichern e.V. (INES) has accepted USG-Blexen GmbH as a new member as of January 1, 2024. This expands the circle of INES members to include a company that previously operated underground storage facilities for storing crude oil and petroleum products. USG Blexen GmbH has initiated concrete measures to develop a hydrogen storage facility and thus fulfills the requirements for INES membership.
In November 2022, the project „Langfristszenarien für die Transformation des Energiesystems in Deutschland“ (Langfristszenarien, long-term scenarios) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) quantitatively described the demand for hydrogen storage from a political perspective. The research consortium commissioned by the BMWK identified a demand for hydrogen storage of between 64 and 105 TWh as part of several scenarios for achieving greenhouse gas neutrality in 2045 ("T45 scenarios") (www.langfristszenarien.de).
The study " Wasserstoff speichern – soviel ist sicher" (INES et al., 2022) found that a total hydrogen storage capacity of 32 TWh could be developed from the pore and cavern storage facilities assumed to be suitable and currently used for gas storage. Based on the results, it can therefore already be concluded that the conversion of the existing hydrogen-compatible gas storage facilities in Germany will not be able to cover the demand for future hydrogen storage capacity according to the BMWK long-term scenarios by far.
As the development of hydrogen storage capacities is very time-consuming, a targeted implementation of the energy transition must also take into account the time required for the conversion and construction of new hydrogen storage facilities. A current INES analysis shows that the conversion of a gas storage facility to hydrogen takes between around 6 and 9 years, depending on the components to be converted. The construction of a new storage facility takes between 10 and 11 years.
In order to provide the hydrogen storage capacities required to implement the energy transition, USG-Blexen GmbH, a company that previously operated underground storage facilities for storing crude oil and mineral oil products, is now also involved in INES. USG-Blexen GmbH has initiated concrete measures to develop a hydrogen storage facility.
As part of a fundamental debate at the last INES General Assembly on November 8th, 2023, INES members agreed to create a membership perspective for oil storage operators if they develop hydrogen storage facilities. This should enable gas and oil storage operators to work together more closely on hydrogen storage issues. As part of an amendment to the articles of association, the possibility of admitting companies that have initiated measures for the development and construction of a hydrogen storage facility has now been specifically created. Previously, INES members were exclusively from the underground gas storage sector.
USG-Blexen Managing Director Thorben Meyer explains his company's decision to join as follows: "When it comes to hydrogen storage, INES is a leader in the association landscape. We are therefore delighted that INES has also created the opportunity for oil storage operators to promote the topic under one roof with gas storage operators with the latest amendment to its articles of association. We look forward to tackling the challenges of hydrogen storage together with the other INES members."
INES Managing Director Sebastian Heinermann comments on the accession of USG-Blexen GmbH as follows: "We are excited about the expansion of our membership and the associated inclusion of USG-Blexen GmbH. Gas and oil storage operators developing hydrogen storage facilities can now tackle the important future task of hydrogen storage together under the umbrella of INES."
BACKGROUND ON INES
INES is the association of gas and hydrogen storage system operators in Germany. INES’ members represent over 90 per cent of German gas storage capacities and account for about 25 per cent of gas storage capacities in the European Union. INES’ member companies also push the development of underground hydrogen storage in numerous projects and thereby form pioneers in this important technology field for the energy transition.
BACKGROUND ON USG-BLEXEN GMBH
USG-Blexen GmbH is an independent company in the German cavern industry with many years of experience and expertise in mining and the oil & gas midstream business. USG-Blexen GmbH has been operating a cavern field in Blexen (Nordenham) since the 1970s. The cavern storage facility currently has a geometric cavern volume of around 2.2 million m³ and offers promising potential for expansion. In order to be prepared for the future, USG Blexen GmbH is planning measures for the development and construction of a hydrogen storage facility.