Natural gas storage facility proposed for West Mesa

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Gas Company is pushing for a natural gas storage facility to save customers money.

Some don’t see it that way. Opposition is growing, as some people believe it poses a safety risk.

The facility would fill what is currently a vast open field just north of the Double Eagle II Airport on the West Side. The company expects it to be a 25-acre liquefied natural gas storage plant.

“It would be available on the coldest winter morning,” spokesman Tim Korte said. “We would have extra gas supplies to make sure that you have a warm house. When you wake up early in the morning, you’d get a hot shower before you head out to work for the day.”

When you think of a chilly morning, you may think of a very costly one around 18 months ago in February 2022. During that time, the gas company shelled out $107 million for more expensive gas on the wholesale market that week.

That, according to Korte, is how much the company typically spends over the course of a year.

“We can order gas from the Texas facility and have it delivered anywhere from 4-24 hours. If we have this facility, we get it within one hour,” Korte said.

The company has no storage facility of its own in New Mexico. Instead, they rely on one in West Texas.

Korte says it will provide gas quickly for customers and buffer price spikes when demand is highest.

“We would be able to fill the tank in the summer when demand is low,” Korte explained.

Environmentalists worry about how safe this large of a facility would be. However, Korte feels confident it will be safe.

“The industry has stored natural gas in America for the last 40 years. All of the best practices and lessons learned from anything that’s happened during that time will be engineered into the design and operation of this facility. We’re confident we can run it safely,” Korte said.

The plans are still going through the approval process. A decision is expected by the end of the year.