Manchin: Bill guarantees loans for gas storage hubs

WASHINGTON — A bill ensuring a natural gas storage hub qualifies for a federal loan program was passed Thursday by a committee of the U.S. Senate.

The Capitalizing American Storage Potential Act approved by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee would make sure a regional storage hub qualifies for the Department of Energy’s Title XVII innovative technologies loan guarantee program, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said.

Efforts are underway in West Virginia to establish the Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub, an underground facility from where natural gas would be piped elsewhere. Three sites are prime contenders in West Virginia, according to research through West Virginia University.

A major development was announced in January when Appalachia Development Group LLC of Charleston said it was invited to submit a Part II application under the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program to support the development of infrastructure for the Appalachia Storage and Trading Hub. The loan guarantee would be for $1.9 billion from the Department of Energy.

The process is the first of several parts of the process for a loan agreement.

Industry representatives have said the storage hub could create thousands of jobs and encourage billions of dollars of development in Appalachia.

Among the three areas considered prime for the hub is Bens Run near the border between Tyler and Pleasants counties. The other two are in the Northern Panhandle, where there are deep salt formations at 6,000 feet, and Mason and Jackson counties and the Kanawha Valley.

“The Appalachian Storage Hub will allow West Virginia and its neighbors to realize the unique opportunities associated with Appalachia’s abundant natural gas liquids like ethane, naturally occurring geologic storage and expanding energy infrastructure,” Manchin said to the committee. “In fact, a storage hub will attract manufacturing investment, create jobs and significantly reduce the rejection rate of natural gas liquids like ethane, butane and propane by capturing and utilizing these products, thereby reducing emissions.”


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