Success Story Storag Etzel

The Client

STORAG ETZEL GmbH plans and manages the construction of underground caverns for the storage of gas and oil reserves in the North German town of Etzel. Constructing a cavern is a complex and time-consuming process which generally takes 3-4 years. After construction has been planned, a drilling site is erected from where several locations can be drilled into. By flushing the salt stored in the salt domes with salt water from the North Sea (solution mining), a cavern is formed which, upon completion, can be used to store natural gas and oil. When the cavern has been created, the technical equipment is then installed so that the gas first- fill can be performed.

Executive Summary

OPTANO has successfully developed a modular system for IT-based scenario project flow planning and also further planning and evaluation possibilities for Storag Etzel GmbH. After the project’s successful initiation, planning was supported by means of system development based on the OPTANO Platform . Thanks to its modular structure, further planning elements could be completed and introduced gradually. Because planners and management were involved in the project from the early stages, a system could be created which is tailored to individual needs and was integrated as a central planning system into the existing IT landscape. The project was implemented by OPTANO experts in close collaboration with the client. It was on-time and on-budget and met all quality requirements.

The Challenge

Planning and managing the construction of a cavern is a complex and challenging task as it is subject to a number of input parameters, cross-dependencies and restrictions. Planning had been done manually until the OPTANO solution was implemented.

The Results

OPTAANO has designed, developed and implemented a modular planning and optimization system based on the OPTANO Platform. The modules were customized to meet the individual requirements of the relevant experts and include, among others:

  • A planning and optimization system to draft strategic production plans taking into account technical restrictions, official regulations and multi-project planning (time scheduling/scheduling for cavern production)
  • The evaluation and optimization of energy costs involved in production planning
  • Master data management and integration into the existing IT architecture
  • Reporting and business intelligence components to process data for the management
  • Planning surveying and maintenance activities (including budget planning)

Integration into the existing landscape (excerpt)

The OPTANO solution integrates seamlessly into the existing IT landscape and is a leading system for managing technical data. In addition, various expert tools were linked up to it which meant that a central link between all IT systems could be set up for the first time (see the diagram opposite).

The most significant results of the project were:

  • Cost reduction by means of efficient resource planning
  • Planning stability
  • Compliance with all technical and legal requirements involved in planning cavern construction.
  • Implementing a technical and fiscal operating tool for strategic production planning
  • Risk management by means of early what-if analyses
  • Compliance with certification requirements (quality and energy management).
  • Implementing effective data management and a central reporting system


“The OPTANO team has a high level of problem-solving expertise in the field of optimization methods which it invested in our processes, constantly providing targeted solutions without losing sight of the cost-benefit ratio. The OPTANO GmbH team is highly competent in handling new situations and was able to advise us on a range of operative and tactical issues.“

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