The same vessel can contain 600 times more liquefied natural gas than conventional one. First LNG plant has been already constructed and solemnly commissioned in Russia in 2009.
From gas to liquid
Natural gas cooled after cleaning from admixtures to the condensation temperature (-161.5 °C), turns into liquid called “liquefied natural gas” (LNG). The volume of gas is contracted by 600 times during liquefaction, which is one of the main advantages of this technology.
For remote areas
LNG is produced at the so-called liquefaction facilities (plants), following which it can be transported in special cryogenic tanks: sea tank ships or tank cars. It enables rapid delivery of gas to the areas located far from the gas trunklines that are traditionally used for conventional natural gas transmission.
Furthermore, LNG can be used as a fuel, whose eco-friendliness is much better than that of diesel fuel.
Liquefied natural gas can be stored for long periods, which makes it possible to build stocks. LNG is returned to its initial gaseous state at regasification terminals before delivery to end consumers.
First attempts to liquefy natural gas for commercial purposes date back to the beginning of the 20th century. In 1917, the first LNG was produced in the USA, but the development of pipeline systems delayed improvement of this technology for a long time. Next attempt to produce LNG was made in 1941, but the production reached commercial scale only in the mid-1960s.
To date, main LNG exporters include Qatar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.
In Russia, the construction of the first LNG plant started within the Sakhalin II project in 2006. Joining this project, Gazprom made another step to implement its strategic goal of becoming a leader among global energy companies by developing new markets, diversifying activities, and ensuring reliable supplies. Construction of the LNG plant is particularly important from this perspective, since it will enable extension of the Gazprom business geography and access to the global LNG market. The ceremony of the plant commissioning was held in the winter of 2009.
Methane should be extracted from mines to prevent explosions. The United States was the first country that decided to turn it into a commercial enterprise. Ten per cent of gas is produced there using this technique. Production from coal beds is promising in Russia as well.
Sea can go several kilometers deep. Laying a pipe at the bottom is a challenge. However, 6,000 kilometers of pipelines are laid at the bottom of the North Sea, some of which have been there for 40 years already.