Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)

From Oil4All
Jump to: navigation, search
Want to teach yourself about the oil industry? "Teach Yourself Oil" Unit 0

Overview

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), also referred to as liquefied petroleum gas, is a mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons, produced from natural gas and oil extraction (66%) and from oil refining (34%). Hence LPG is an example of an associated gas.[1]

Unlike liquefied natural gas (LNG), which must be be stored at at -162°C in order to remain liquefied under atmospheric pressure,[2] LPG becomes a liquid when compressed at room temperature for storage and transport.[3]

When natural gas is extracted from the ground, around 90 percent of it is methane, and the rest is made up of various liquid petroleum gases. The methane is separated from this mixture and transported via pipelines. These gases can also be produced during the crude oil refining process, usually producing around a 3 percent yield.[4]

LPG is mostly made up of propane, butane or a mix of the two. Other elements present are primarily used as chemical feedstocks rather than fuel.[5]

LPG was first produced in 1910 by Walter Snelling and the first car powered by propane ran in 1913.[6]

Usage

LPG is popular as a fuel for domestic use, as it is portable and usually safe to store. It is used for portable camping grills, hot water tanks, refrigerators, caravans, or for use on boats, isolated cabins and lodges. The fuel also has many industrial uses, including uses in metal working, glass working and ceramics, and for industrial forklifts and heavy lifting.[7]

According to industry commentator Ed Grabianowski, LPG was one of the most common alternative fuels in the world as of 2011 and is a particularly popular fuel for heating and cooking in certain areas of India and in rural parts of the US. He reports that the fuel is becoming an attractive source of energy for people struggling to meet increasing heating bills.[8]

The World Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (WLPGA) estimates that more than 9 million vehicles in 38 countries currently operate on LPG. Cited benefits of using the fuel to power cars rather than conventional fuels include reduced greenhouse gas emissions, government incentives and tax breaks in many countries, and affordability. However cars must first undergo a conversion process to be able to run on LPG.[9]

Though rare, LPG (particularly propane and butane) poses a risk of sudden depressurization and explosions during storage and transport, so is often subject to regulations on its production, storage and transport.[10]

LPG Markets

In countries like India, which do not have reliable oil or natural gas supplies, LPG makes up a major share of the energy mix. In such cases, many everyday heating and cooking needs are supplied by propane instead of oil or coal.[11]

According to the LP Gas Association, rapid population growth in many of the world's developing countries has outpaced the increase in modern energy provision, a gap which creates an opportunity for LPG gas markets.[12]

References

  1. "What is LPG?" FloGas, 1 March 2012.
  2. "Technology" Deen Shipping, retrieved 12 April 2012.
  3. "Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) - natural gas that is very, very cold" Energy Quest, retrieved 12 April 2012.
  4. "How Liquefied Petroleum Gas Works" HowStuffWorks, retrieved 1 March 2012.
  5. "Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)" Window on State Government, retrieved 1 March 2012.
  6. "LPG: A History" Extraordinary Road Trip, retrieved 1 March 2012.
  7. "LPG: A History" Extraordinary Road Trip, retrieved 1 March 2012.
  8. "How Liquefied Petroleum Gas Works" HowStuffWorks, retrieved 1 March 2012.
  9. "How Liquefied Petroleum Gas Works" HowStuffWorks, retrieved 1 March 2012.
  10. "Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)" Window on State Government, retrieved 1 March 2012.
  11. "How Liquefied Petroleum Gas Works" HowStuffWorks, retrieved 1 March 2012.
  12. "Developing Rural Markets for LP Gas" World LP Gas Association, 2005.