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FAQ

What is LNG?
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been supercooled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 162 degrees Celcius). At that temperature, natural gas condenses into a liquid. When in liquid form, natural gas takes up to 600 times less space than in its gaseous state, which makes it feasible to transport over long distances.In the form of LNG, natural gas can be shipped from the parts of the world where it is abundant to where it is in demand. LNG is an energy source that has much lower air emissions than other fossil fuels, such as oil or coal. LNG is odorless, colorless, non-corrosive and non-toxic. Its weight is less than one-half that of water.


Is LNG a new technology or process?
No. LNG was proven viable in 1917. It was first used in the U.S. at Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1941. The first international shipment of LNG came into the United Kingdom in 1959. The use of LNG is a proven, reliable and safe process.

Why liquefy natural gas?
The change to a liquid reduces the volume of natural gas by about 600 to 1, which means one LNG tanker can transport enough LNG to equal 600 tanker ships carrying natural gas. Liquefying natural gas makes it feasible to transport natural gas by tanker and to store it in preparation for vaporization and supply into pipelines. LNG can be shipped from areas with plentiful natural gas resources to areas where natural gas is needed.


How is LNG changed into liquid form, and then back into a gas?
Natural gas is cooled by a large refrigeration system. This conversion of natural gas into liquid is termed liquefaction. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) takes up 600 times less space than natural gas in its natural state. LNG is easier to transport. To transform LNG back into a gas, the liquid is passed through vaporizers that warm it, causing it to boil and vaporize. Advanced and proven technologies are used for both processes.


Where does LNG come from?
LNG primarily comes from areas where large gas discoveries have been made, such as Algeria, Indonesia, Trinidad, Tobago, Nigeria, Qatar, Oman, Russia and Australia. Some LNG is produced in Alaska.


How is LNG transported?
LNG is transported in large, specially designed ships. These ships have double hulls and are about 950 feet long and 150 feet wide. There are currently over 150 ships in the LNG fleet and more are on order due to the expanding business.


Does LNG have a good safety record?
Yes. A record of 40,000 carrier voyages covering 100 million miles over a 45-year period without a major accident is compelling evidence of this energy source's safety. The United States also has considerable experience handling LNG at about 100 small LNG storage and receipt terminals located throughout the country as part of our natural gas distribution system. During the early phase of the industry there were some accidents at a few onshore facilities. Those incidents led to more stringent regulations for operation and safety. There have been no serious accidents or deaths involving an LNG facility in the United States in 25 years. For the past 45 years, ships have delivered LNG without any major accidents or safety problems. In that time, there have been more than 40,000 LNG carrier trips, covering more than 100 million miles. Today, more than 150 LNG tankers deliver LNG throughout the world. There has never been a serious accident, fire or casualty involving an LNG carrier.


Will LNG burn?
For any substance to burn, there must be three components present and in the right combination: (1) the substance, (2) oxygen and (3) heat. LNG does not itself burn because it does not contain oxygen. However, like natural gas, LNG vapors are flammable when mixed in a 5 to 15 percent concentration with air. If the concentration is lower than 5 percent it cannot burn because of insufficient fuel. If the concentration is higher than 15 percent it cannot burn because there is insufficient oxygen. Therefore, the fire hazard of LNG is preconditioned on the LNG being released, the LNG vaporizing, mixing with air in a very narrow gas to air ratio of 5-15 percent and finding an ignition source.


Will LNG explode?
No, because it contains no oxygen to react with the fuel. Even LNG vapors in an open environment do not have enough oxygen to react with the fuel. LNG spill studies have shown that high winds rapidly dissipate the LNG vapor and low winds (or no wind) keep the flammable vapor cloud very close to the source.


Is LNG odorized?
The liquid is not odorized because the odorant would freeze out as a solid when natural gas is cooled down to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit (or minus 162 degrees Celcius). When LNG is vaporized and distributed, the natural gas is odorized as required by government regulations.


Is a spill detectable?
Within an LNG facility or onboard a ship, there are various types of hazard detectors used to alert personnel to a leak or spill. These could include detection for the presence of gas, flame, smoke, high temperatures or low temperatures. While LNG vapors have no odor or color, if an LNG release occurred, LNG's low temperature will cause condensation of water vapor in the air and form a visible white cloud that would be readily apparent.


What does an LNG receipt terminal look like?
An LNG import terminal consists of the dock(s) for the ship to bring the LNG onshore, the LNG storage tank(s), vaporizers and other equipment to turn the LNG from a cold liquid back into natural gas.


We have natural gas reserves here, why bring it from overseas?
We need to find additional gas supplies from other sources to meet the growing North American demand. There is a widening gap between the amount of gas supplies available in North America and the growing North American demand for natural gas. Gas production in the lower 48 United States has declined by more than 50 percent since 1970 and Canadian supplies have peaked and are beginning to decline. Mexican resources are limited and are not capable of meeting the continental demand. Yet gas consumption continues to increase despite the declining domestic supply. Imports can help to fill the growing gap. There are abundant supplies of natural gas available in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, Africa, the former Soviet Union, South and Central America, the Asia Pacific region and Europe. The world supply of natural gas, including in North America, is a total of 5,915 trillion cubic feet, enough supply to meet world demands for 70 years. 

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