Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

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Overview

LNG or liquefied natural gas, is a clear, colorless, non-toxic liquid,[1] produced by cooling natural gas to -260° Fahrenheit (-160ºC), at which point it becomes liquid. This process occurs to allow more efficient transport of natural gas, either by truck or by sea.[2] LNG takes up 600 times less space than natural gas in its gaseous form.[3]

Converting natural gas into LNG can make stranded natural gas deposits more economically viable, as constructing pipelines can be expensive. In addition, LNG will not explode in an unconfined environment, so in the unlikely event of an LNG spill, the natural gas has little chance of igniting an explosion. Other benefits of LNG include that the liquification process removes oxygen, carbon dioxide, sulphur and water from the natural gas, resulting in LNG which is almost pure methane.[4] Once it reaches its destination, LNG is stored in its liquid form until it is warmed back to natural gas via the process of regasification.[5]

Production

As of May 2015, there were 33 LNG production and export terminals worldwide, 120 regasification terminals[6] and nearly 435 LNG ships[7] altogether handling approximately 240 million metric tons of LNG every year.[8] These numbers are predicted to increase dramatically over the next decade due to the growing popularity of this clean fuel source.[9]


LNG plants are capital intensive and rely on heavy debt.[10] But while LNG is reasonably costly to produce, advances in technology are reducing the costs associated with the liquification and regasification of LNG.[11] The BP World Energy Outlook in 2012 predicted that LNG trade will grow twice as fast as global gas production, that is, at a rate of 4.4% per annum.[12]

References

  1. "What is LNG?" Shell, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  2. "Overview-About LNG" Center for Liquified Natural Gas, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  3. "Liquified Natural Gas (LNG" NaturalGas.org, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  4. "Liquified Natural Gas (LNG" NaturalGas.org, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  5. "http://www.lngfacts.org/About-LNG/Overview.asp Overview-About LNG]" Center for Liquified Natural Gas, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  6. "World's LNG Plants" Global LNG Info, retrieved 5 June 2015.
  7. LNG Ships" Zeus Intelligence, retrieved 5 June 2015.
  8. "IGU World LNG Report" International Gas Union, retrieved 5 June 2015.
  9. "What is LNG?" ConocoPhillips, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  10. "Analysis: East Africa risks missing LNG boom" Reuters, 19 September 2012.
  11. "Liquified Natural Gas (LNG" NaturalGas.org, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  12. "World Energy Outlook 2030" BP, retrieved 13 February 2012.