Been Through the Desert to get Salt from the Brine: Bumstead and Adamana Part 2

There is a close, symbiotic relationship between brine and natural gas liquids.  Most NGL storage is in huge underground caverns washed out of salt formations thousands of feet below the surface.  That washing or ‘leaching’ process makes lots of brine.  When the storage caverns or wells go into service, the NGLs replace the brine. But when NGLs are removed from the wells, brine must displace the NGL barrels.  Nowhere is this relationship between brine and NGLs more entwined with the history of the facilities than at Bumstead and Adamana, two storage facilities in Arizona.  Today we continue our series looking at the unique niche these two operations fill in the NGL marketplace and where they may be headed in the future.

In Part 1, we examined what makes the location of Bumstead and Adamana so unique, and why they are there in the first place.  In the case of Bumstead it was the brine.  And we told the story of how it came to be, when Jerry Grott was inspired back in the sixties to develop a facility to solution-mine salt, just outside Phoenix.  We walked through the evolution of the facility and how it eventually ended up in the hands of Plains All American.

Adamana Storage, Holbrook, Arizona

Today we’ll start with a more abbreviated background on the other Arizona storage facility – Adamana.  This NGL storage operation is located 20 miles east of Holbrook, AZ. It is part of the Holbrook or “Supai” salt basin in “Permian” salt.  Salt and potash (potassium chloride) was discovered there in the 1920’s during a short stint of oil and gas drilling. The salt at Adamana was washed out and Suburban Company and Williams Energy began operating the facility in the mid 70’s.  Ferrellgas bought Adamana in 1986 and Enterprise acquired it from them in 2007 as a part of a package of assets. The storage caverns are about 100 feet in height and the largest is about 200 MBbl. There are 11 caverns providing a total capacity of about 2MM Bbls. They handle propane, butanes, pentanes and mixed refinery grade butane (RGB) delivered by rail car or truck.  Normal butane is shipped out exclusively by railcar and the rest can be shipped out by railcar or truck. A number of surge tanks are on site at the facility to receive products prior to pumping into the storage caverns. A solid bed propane dehydrator is used to provide dehydration for stored propane product prior to truck or railcar loading. There is also a butane splitter available for on-site fractionation of refinery grade butane that can be used when economics permit.

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