Steps toward natural gas: Storage construction underway

Published: Feb. 16, 2018 at 10:28 PM AKST
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As efforts to bring more natural gas to the Interior continue, one problem that needs to be addressed is where to put it.

The Interior Energy Project is lining up gas supply, transportation, distribution, and storage so that thousands of residents in Fairbanks and North Pole can heat their homes with a fuel that's clean, and has a more stable price than wood or heating oil.

A big project is constructing more gas storage here in town.

The tank will be big - 100 feet across, and more than 90 feet tall. It will hold enough gas to keep Fairbanks and North Pole supplied for several days in the event of supply interruptions.

Construction on the site in an industrial neighborhood near the Tanana River is well underway, with crews working to install coolant lines that will keep permafrost underneath stable even with a tank weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds up above.

The outer tank, made of concrete, will be under construction throughout this summer.

The inner tank will be made of nickel steel and built on site. When complete, it will expand local natural gas storage capacity more than tenfold. By then, officials with the Interior Gas Utility and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority hope they'll have the elements in line to fill it up and start serving residents, some of who have whom have been hoping for gas for decades.