The First Caverns.
Following discovery and conversion, the facilities began operations by the end of the 70's – for the most part still using coal gas. After explorations of our oldest storage facility in Kirchheilingen were completed in the 1960's, injection and withdrawal of coal gas was tested in the early 70's. Several drillings were completed and cyclical storage operations began.
In Bernburg the salt caverns were converted, with the help of local salt industry, for use in underground gas storage. In the early 70's, the aboveground facilities were installed and in 1974 the first cavern was put into operation. The first serious trial for the facilities' reliability was passed four years later: in 1978 a major breakdown of East Germany's pipeline network led to a 48 hour interruption in gas delivery – and the Bernburg storage facility covered the shortcomings with ease.
Bad Lauchstädt has, in addition to its naturally occurring depleted reservoirs, artificial cavern storage created specifically for use as underground storage. Coal gas storage began at the natural reservoirs in 1977 with the first operation of the cavern storage facilities beginning in 1979.