The name, ‘Niska’ is a Cree Indian word meaning “Canada Goose” reflecting Niska’s roots as the Canadian developer of the first major trading point for natural gas in Alberta, the AECO Storage Hub who then “migrated” its expertise into the United States.
Our assets were mostly developed by a division of a Calgary-based oil and gas producer. Alberta Energy Company (AEC) first developed gas storage in one of its depleted reservoirs at Suffield in the late 1980s in order to operate its production more efficiently in the face of markets that peaked only in the winter. That was right at the time of deregulation of natural gas markets and a more active, liquid market for natural gas was beginning to emerge. The storage operation turned out so well for AEC that other producers were soon asking for storage capacity too and the decision was made to ‘go commercial’. Through the 1990s a series of expansions occurred at Suffield as the market grew, with ultimately 5 reservoirs being developed to a working capacity of 80 Bcf.
With the success of AECO-Suffield, the company began looking to grow its natural gas storage business with diversification into other regions. California was targeted as being a true market region, but relatively close to Alberta and containing reservoirs with good potential for gas storage development. The Wild Goose Gas Storage project came on-stream in 1999 with 14 Bcf, was first expanded in 2004, and is now at 75 Bcf.
Further diversification was achieved in the early 2000’s with the acquisition of the former Manchester Gas Storage facility in Oklahoma, which was renamed Salt Plains Gas Storage, as well as contracts for natural gas storage capacity at attractive rates on the Natural Gas Pipeline System. Salt Plains has a working capacity of 13 Bcf.
In 2002, AEC merged with PanCanadian to form EnCana Corp. PanCanadian had controlled the Countess reservoirs, which had been identified as ideal gas storage candidates. The gas storage team quickly brought the Countess project on-stream (initially in 2003 with 20 Bcf) and it has been steadily expanded through the decade to the current working capacity of 70 Bcf.
In May 2006 the energy-focused private equity funds managed by Riverstone Holdings LLC acquired the natural gas storage business and assets of EnCana Corp., naming it Niska Gas Storage. About half of our staff and management have continuity with the business from the EnCana days, while the remainder has been recruited since from amongst the best in the industry.
In May 2010, after forming Niska Gas Storage Partners, LLC, an Initial Public Offering was launched to offer equity interests in our business to the public. The Riverstone funds retain a controlling interest.
In July 2016, Niska Gas Storage Partners, LLC was acquired by Brookfield Infrastructure Group and is now a private entity.