The First Steps.
The early 1950's saw the beginnings of underground natural gas storage in Germany when coal gas was compressed into stone-sealed cavities. This combustible gas – obtained from coal gasification – was used in heating, for the most part, during the first half of the 20th century.
The first chapter in the VNG Gasspeicher success story is considered to be the discovery, in the late 1950's, of gas and salt deposits in what is now Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. In the 60's and 70's, these were then converted for underground storage use.
While the underground natural gas storage potential at Kirchheilingen was discovered as early as 1959, it wasn't until the 1970's that first exploratory drilling at Bad Lauchstädt and Bernburg took place. At the end of the 70's, Buchholz in Brandenburg was added. This fourth was, however, already being filled with natural gas. Three of the four locations are still in operation today.