Back to Media Room

News Releases

Ameren Illinois Upgrading Natural Gas Storage Fields to Sustain Diversified Energy Portfolio
Improvements Will Enhance Reliability For Residential, Commercial, Industrial Customers During Winter Months

COLLINSVILLE (April 29, 2024) – With the winter heating season in the rearview mirror, Ameren Illinois is focusing on the road ahead by upgrading four of its underground natural gas storage fields to ensure continued reliability next winter and beyond.

"We saw firsthand during Winter Storm Gerri the role our underground storage fields played in providing readily available natural gas to meet customer heating needs. In one brutal stretch of sub-zero temperatures, our customers used the fourth highest volume of natural gas in nearly 15 years," said Lenny Singh, President and Chairman of Ameren Illinois. "That level of volume can put a strain on our delivery system, so we’re upgrading our storage capabilities to ensure that we’re prepared to meet demand during the winter months."

  • Glasford natural gas storage field – A new gas injection pipeline and take station is being constructed in and around the storage field to allow Ameren Illinois to free flow gas from the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline and to eliminate the need to run gas compressors on the site. The new pipeline is scheduled to be completed and in-service by October.
  • Hillsboro, Freeburg, and Shanghai natural gas storage fields – Beginning this month, the company will remove dehydration systems at the three fields as the systems are nearing the end of their respective useful life cycles. Construction of new dehydration systems will begin later in the summer.

    Natural gas withdrawn from storage fields is saturated with water vapor above the pipeline quality limits and must be purified to remove excess water to prevent freeze-ups in lines and equipment on the downstream natural gas transmission and distribution lines. The dehydration system is a critical part of the process that removes moisture from the natural gas and brings moisture levels in the gas back to pipeline quality specifications for Ameren customers. The new dehydration systems will ensure continued safe and reliable operations when the company withdraws natural gas in the winter from the gas storage field locations.
  • Freeburg natural gas storage field – In addition to installing a new hydration system, in May, Ameren Illinois will begin phase two of a multi-year horizontal well drilling project.  Vertical wells and transmission pipelines installed in the mid 1900’s will be replaced. When completed in 2027, the new horizontal wells will align with state and federal pipeline regulations and reduce operating and maintenance costs at the facility.

"The Freeburg project in particular will have a significant impact on efficiency and cost management,” said Tim Eggers, Director of Natural Gas Storage Fields for Ameren Illinois. “Reducing our well count means we will spend less on maintenance. That’s a direct value for our customers and will go a long way to helping hold down heating bills next winter.” 

Ameren Illinois owns and operates underground natural gas storage fields in Ashmore, Centralia, Eden, Freeburg, Galesburg (Shanghai), Glasford, Hillsboro, Hookdale, Johnston City, Lincoln, Sciota, and Tilden. These fields collectively can safely store and annually cycle 24.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas for Ameren Illinois natural gas customers.

"Natural gas is purchased in the summer at lower market prices, stored, and injected into distribution system as demand increases and is readily available during peak demand days, which helps keep our customers natural gas bills lower in the winter," Eggers said.

About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers throughout central and southern Illinois. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles and our mission is to power the quality of life. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.


Brian Bretsch

Stacey Shangraw