Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas that is stored and transported in liquid form at atmospheric pressure and at a temperature of -162°C. Like natural gas, LNG consists mainly of methane (CH4).
Natural gas is turned into liquid using a refrigeration process in a liquefaction plant. The unit where LNG is produced is called a train. Liquefying natural gas shrinks its volume by 600 times, thus making it easier to store and transport. LNG is transported in specially-built tanks in double-hulled ships to a receiving terminal, where it is stored in heavily insulated double-walled tanks. The LNG is then sent to re-gasifiers, which transform the LNG into its gaseous state for distribution via pipelines. The LNG industry has operated worldwide for over 40 years with very few safety-related incidents.
Advantages and growing use of LNG
Globally, natural gas production and consumption are growing rapidly to fuel power plants and to meet industrial, commercial and domestic needs.
Global demand for LNG has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. One reason is the greater efficiency offered by combined-cycle power plants that use natural gas, compared to conventional steam power plants that are oil-fired.
It helps too that natural gas is less damaging to the environment. It is considered the cleanest fossil fuel, so it meets energy needs while being relatively friendly to the environment.
Finally, as demand rises, suppliers have also stepped up. Major gas exporting countries such as Australia, Qatar, Russia, and Nigeria have expanded liquefaction plants to meet the requirements of new buyers, such as the rapidly-expanding economies of China and India.
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