Gas supply disruptions were partially responsible for this year’s rolling blackouts that left more than 4 million Texans without power.


An additional 100 billion cubic feet in natural gas has been added into the state’s underground storage reserves over the last month, according to information from the Texas Railroad Commission.

Agency officials say the increased gas reserves should help Texas avoid energy supply disruptions during the upcoming winter season. Researchers have blamed such disruptions — among other factors — for this year’s rolling blackouts that left more than 4 million Texans without power.

“Natural gas storage is a great way to avoid and mitigate any potential supply disruptions,” said Railroad Commission chief engineer Ted Wooten in an Oct. 27 release.

Natural gas utilities and electric power generators both can benefit from stored gas. Conversely, a disruption in the supply of natural gas can undermine operations at electric plants, thereby contributing to power outages. Such disruptions were partially to blame for last February’s outages, according to a recent University of Texas report. (You can read that report here.)

As of October 15, the state had about 478 billion cubic feet of natural gas in underground storage and had room for an additional 75 billion cubic feet. The roughly 75 billion cubic feet of additional storage availability could generate enough electricity for 8.61 million Texas homes for a month, according to data from the Energy Information Administration for electricity production from natural gas and average consumption per household.

Operators of the underground facilities — these include both depleted oil and gas reservoirs and mined salt caverns — by law must report storage information to the Railroad Commission. The agency in turn reports underground gas storage statistics on its website, at this link found here.

“The more gas we have in reserve, the better prepared we are,” said Wooten.

— R.A. Dyer