AGL Resources has filed a permit application with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to expand its natural gas storage on Lake Peigner, which has begun the debate once again about the use of the Chico Aquifer to clean the two new caverns.
Jefferson Island Storage & Hub, LLC, a subsidiary of AGL Resources, operates two natural gas storage caverns in the Jefferson Island salt dome around 4,000 feet below the surface of the lake on the Iberia Parish side.
Over the last six years AGL has been trying to build two additional caverns near the ones under the lake.
The two extra caverns would expand AGL’s storage gas capacity from eight billion cubic feet to 20 billion cubic feet.
AGL ran into a road block when it discovered that the company did not have the right lease agreement to do work on Lake Peigneur.
Richard Hyde, the managing director for AGL, updated the Abbeville Rotary Club on the status of AGL and the building of two new caverns.
Hyde explained to the Rotarians that the building of the caverns will create 200 new jobs and 140 indirect jobs for Iberia and Vermilion Parish over the five-year period it will take for the caverns to be built.
AGL has committed to use only 40 percent of its water used to clean the cavern from the upper Chico Aquifer, the water source for south Louisiana. The other 60 percent of the water will come from the lower Chico Aquifer.
Hyde explained that freshwater from the aquifer will be used to remove the salt and then the salt water will be injected 7,000 feet below the ground in a storage well.
He said AGL is expected to use three million gallons a water from the upper Chico Aquifer each day over an 18-month period. That equals 90 million of gallons a month or 1.5 billion gallons of water over the 18 month period used to clean two salt dooms.
“You guys (AGL) are pumping a lot of water out of the aquifer,” said Rotarian Alex Crochet. Crochet wanted to know if AGL has looked at other water resources.
Removing water from the lake or Vermilion Bay was looked at but the “environmental impact outweighs taking it out of the Chico Aquifer,” Hyde said.
“If you take the water out of the lake, you will change the salinity and the whole make up of the lake. You will harm the lake more by doing that than what we are proposing.”