The storage of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons has grown strongly in the last few decades, owing to increasing consumption and the need to guarantee energy-supply continuity.
Underground storage has considerable advantages over above-ground storage:
It is safer and protects stored products against all external aggressions, including fire, explosion, natural risks (tsunamis, earthquakes) and safety-related risks. As such, it protects the environment by considerably limiting the impact that these hydrocarbons could have with respect to these types of risks. Underground storage also limits visual, olfactory and noise pollution.
It minimises the amount of land required, freeing up land for other uses, be they agricultural or industrial.
Storage in an anaerobic environment safeguards the quality of the products over time.
Underground storage is also cost effective and can be used for substantial volumes – up to several hundred thousand tonnes per site depending on the technique used.
All these aspects make underground storage the most rational solution for storing hydrocarbons wherever large quantities are involved, to the point of practically eliminating the possibility of other alternatives.