Liquified natural gas, commonly known as LNG, is natural gas in its liquid state. This is achieved by cooling natural gas to -162°C (-260°F). It is a clear, colourless, non-corrosive, and non-toxic liquid.
Through the liquefaction process, the volume of the gas is reduced approximately 600 times. LNG then undergoes the regasification process at import terminals after transport, then distributed as natural gas via pipelines to consumers.
LNG is transported in specialised, non-pressurised storage between continents on specialised over-the-road trucks, off-road vehicles, ocean vessels, and railways. LNG does not explode even if there are spills or leaks, making it a safer and more economically attractive form for transportation compared to natural gas, which requires traditional pipeline transportation systems.
LNG is crucial for fulfilling the global demand for natural gas and maintaining energy security. Powering our homes, businesses, and industries, natural gas is essential for the running of all aspects of day-to-day life. LNG technology allows natural gas to be transported from production regions to markets where natural gas pipelines do not exist or are not feasible.
LNG’s popularity is motivated by efforts to diversify energy resources. In addition, natural gas is considered a cleaner energy source than other fossil fuels, as it releases water vapour and small amounts of carbon dioxide (30-50% fewer emissions than other combustible fuels) when combusted. Thus, it plays an essential role as the world transitions to net zero.
LNG is being rapidly adopted across the energy industry. In 2000, LNG only accounted for 26% of the natural gas trade. By 2020, 46% of natural gas traded consists of LNG. Experts predict that this trend of growth is set to continue.
As the world population and energy consumption increase, LNG will play an increasingly important role in the global energy chain.