In this article, EPCM discusses the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Value Chain. Natural gas will be the world’s faster-growing major energy source through the year 2040.

This energy source carries tremendous benefits for the consumers and the environment. It is versatile, clean-burning, and abundant.

1 Liquid Natural Gas (LNG): Natural Gas Production and Transport for Treating

Natural gas resources can be located in remote areas, and these resources are produced from subsurface reservoirs – both onshore and offshore.

A complex value chain transports natural gas to consumers around the world. The value chain begins with the process of bringing natural gas to market by safely drilling wells to bring the gas and other reservoir components to the surface, where it may be processed on-site or transported to a facility for treating and processing.

2 Treating and Processing Natural Gas

Natural gas extracted from subsurface reservoirs can contain non-hydrocarbon, including Hydrogen Sulphide, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, and Water.

The treatment processes remove these components from the natural gas, a solvent is used to absorb Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulphide, and Water. Heavier liquids are removed from the lighter gas for separate processing. Water is removed and the remaining natural gas is ready to be cooled into a liquid.

3 Liquid Natural Gas (LNG): Gas Pipeline

Depending on the source of the natural gas it may need to be transported to a liquefaction facility. The gas is transported by pipeline and can travel hundreds of kilometres or just a few metres to a liquefaction facility. This depends on where the gas treatment facilities are located relative to the liquefaction plant.

4 Liquefaction Process

The liquefaction plant cools the gas to negative 162 degrees Celcius. As the gas cools it is reduced to 1/600th hundredth of its previous volume. The resulting liquified natural gas is clear, colourless, and ready for transport.

5 Liquid Natural Gas (LNG): LNG Storage and Loading Terminal

The liquified natural gas (LNG), is stored in large insulated tanks until it is ready for shipment. Pipes connect the storage tank to a loading jetty. Regardless of outside temperatures, the LNG inside the tanks and loading facility remains at negative 162 degrees Celcius. The LNG is then pumped into specially designed LNG ships.

6 LNG Shipping

LNG shipping tankers transfer natural gas around the world. Some of the largest LNG ships, such as the Qmax, are longer than 60 city buses. And each Qmax LNG ship carries enough natural gas to power 70 000 homes for 1 year.

7 Liquid Natural Gas (LNG): Receiving and Regasification

When the LNG ship arrives it is guided to the receiving terminal, where the LNG is unloaded, and stored in insulated tanks. The LNG is then pumped into a regasification plant, where it is warmed and converted back into a gaseous state. The natural gas is then ready to complete its journey.

8 Market

A network of pipelines delivers the natural gas to power plants, where it is used to generate electricity for urban areas, to industrial facilities for the manufacturing of steel, cars, and chemicals. And also to homes and office buildings for heating, cooking, and drying clothes