LNG is principally used for transporting natural gas to markets, where it is regasified and distributed as pipeline natural gas. LNG offers an energy density comparable to petrol and diesel fuels and produces less pollution, but its relatively high cost of production and the need to store it in expensive cryogenic tanks have prevented its widespread use in commercial applications. It can be used in natural gas vehicles, although it is more common to design vehicles to use compressed natural gas.

The natural gas fed into the LNG plant will be treated to remove water, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and other components that will freeze (e.g., benzene) under the low temperatures needed for storage or be destructive to the liquefaction facility. LNG typically contains more than 90% methane>. It also contains small amounts of ethane, propane, butane and some heavier alkanes. The purification process can be designed to give almost 100% methane. One of the very rare risks of LNG is Rapid phase transition (RPT) which arises from cold LNG being in contact with water[2].

The most important infrastructure needed for LNG production and transportation is an LNG plant consisting of one or more LNG trains, each of which is an independent unit for gas liquefaction. The largest LNG train in operation is now in Qatar. LNG is loaded onto ships and delivered to a regasification terminal, where the LNG is reheated and turned into gas. Regasification terminals are usually connected to a storage and pipeline distribution network to distribute natural gas to local distribution companies or independent power plants.

LNG Plant LNG Plant

Compared with the crude oil market, the natural gas market is about 60% of the crude oil market.The commercial development of LNG is a style called value chain, which means LNG suppliers first confirm the downstream buyers and then sign 20–25 year contracts with strict terms and structures for gas pricing. Only when the customers were confirmed and the development of a greenfield project deemed economically feasible could the sponsors of an LNG project invest in their development and operation. Thus, the LNG liquefaction business has been regarded as a game of the rich, where only players with strong financial and political resources could get involved. Major international oil companies such as BP, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BG Group; Chevron, and national oil companies such as Pertamina, Petronas are active players. Japan, South Korea, Spain, France, Italy and Taiwan import large volumes of LNG due to their shortage of energy.

In the early 2000s, as more players take part in investment, both in downstream and upstream, and new technologies are adopted, the prices for construction of LNG plants, receiving terminals and vessels have fallen, making LNG a more competitive means of energy distribution, but increasing material costs and demand for construction contractors have driven up prices in the last few years. Due to energy shortage concerns, many new LNG terminals are being contemplated over the world.

Source: Wikipedia


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