Ameren Illinois says gas storage fields help them keep prices stable for customers during the winter

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GLASFORD, Ill. (WMBD) — Natural gas storage fields help Ameren Illinois keep customer prices down when prices spike in cold Illinois winters, the company’s director of gas storage said Thursday.

Glasford storage field serves the Peoria area with natural gas. It is one of 12 gas storage fields owned by Ameren Illinois across the state, and the only one in central Illinois.

“When those demands go up and down, the storage fields do a good job at helping us balance our supplies,” said Stephen Underwood, director of gas storage at Ameren Illinois.

During last year’s Texas power grid crisis, Underwood said Ameren customers did not see their gas prices surge like others did.

“We were able to meet that with flying colors, and we’re able to keep our system reliable, plus provide the gas at a reasonable price,” Underwood said.

In the summer, Ameren buys natural gas sourced from the Southwest and Texas Oklahoma area. The gas is then shipped up to central Illinois and stored 800 feet underground in its storage fields until its drawn out in the winter.

“Half the gas our customers use in the wintertime comes from gas storage,” he said.

Underwood said the Glasford storage field is one-of-a-kind, as it was created some 400 million years ago when a meteorite hit the earth, “the perfect geological formation to be able to store gas.”

Because of the way the field was created, Underwood said it’s able to withdraw large volumes, hold large volumes, and is strategically located near Peoria where it can serve a large customer population.

He said 34 wells feed into the Glasford storage field, which stores 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas. At peak usage, the field can serve 120,000 customers at a time.

“That’s enough to fill Busch Stadium about 175 times,” he said.

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