US pipeline operator Kinder Morgan (KMI) is planning to increase gas storage capacity at its Markham Storage facility in Texas, by six billion cubic feet (bcf).

The decision comes as the company reaped a profit of about $1bn during February’s winter blast in the US, pushing the prices of natural gas prices to record highs, reported Reuters.

As part of the latest decision, KMI agreed to lease an additional cavern at the Markham facility. The lease deal has been signed with Underground Services Markham, a subsidiary of Texas Brine Company.

With the additional cavern, KMI will provide more than 6bcf of incremental working gas storage capacity and 650 million cubic feet per day of incremental withdrawal capacity on its extensive Texas intrastate pipeline system.

KMI natural gas midstream president Tom Dender said: “During Winter Storm Uri, KMI’s storage portfolio was critical to supplying human needs customers in Texas while also providing much-needed supply to numerous electric generation facilities during the storm. We are pleased to increase our natural gas storage solutions to further support Texas customers, particularly during severe weather events.

“Storage capabilities on highly utilised assets are critical to support Texas’ ability to respond to an energy crisis and ensure energy reliability as renewables become a greater portion of the state’s energy mix. This expansion will provide much-needed capacity that could supply gas-fired electric generation facilities within ERCOT and provide electric service to well in excess of one million homes in Texas.”

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By GlobalData

Prior to the expansion, the Markham facility had a 21.8bcf working gas storage capacity and a daily peak natural gas delivery of 1.1bcf.