Cushion gas is the amount of gas that is permanently stored in a natural gas storage. The main function is to maintain sufficient pressure in the storage to allow for adequate injection and withdrawal rates at all times. Another name for this type of gas is base gas.
The amount of required cushion gas depends on the type of storage. For example, in depleted gas reservoirs around 50% of the total volume consists of cushion gas. In comparison, salt caverns require typically around 25% of the total volume. Aquifer reservoirs require more: up to 80% of the total volume. In short, the exact amount required depends on the exact characteristics of the storage and the required withdrawal rates.
As a result, cushion gas is an important cost element for a gas storage project. It can amount to 50%-80% of the total investment costs. You can only withdraw this gas at the end of the lifetime of a gas storage facility.
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