Liquefied Natural Gas

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is the liquid form of the same clean and safe natural gas used in homes every day for heating, cooling and cooking. Converting natural gas to LNG allows us to help meet growing global energy demand with a cleaner fuel.

What is LNG?

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is the liquid form of the same clean and safe natural gas used in homes every day for heating, cooling and cooking. Natural gas is also the primary source of fuel for many U.S. industries and for the generation of electricity.

When converted to its liquid form, natural gas occupies only about one 600th of the space it does in its gas form, allowing LNG to be easily stored in tanks or pumped into ships and transported overseas. As a result, LNG offers a cost-effective method for transporting natural gas over long distances and provides consumers across the globe with access to vast natural gas resources.

To transform natural gas into LNG, LNG trains cool the gas to a temperature of minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting LNG is colorless, odorless, non-corrosive and non-toxic. It can be stored in tanks, loaded onto LNG carriers, and distributed to global markets for use in homes, businesses, and power plants.When a receiving terminal accepts LNG, it warms the liquefied gas to around 30 degrees to regasify it in preparation for transportation to consumers by pipeline.

The LNG Process

1 —
Gas Fields

Natural gas is produced in subsurface gas reservoirs and reached through drilling.

2 —
Gas Treatment and Liquefaction

The natural gas is sent by pipeline from the gas field to a processing plant, where impurities are removed from the gas. The gas is then cooled to negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit, transforming it into a liquid that is stored at subzero temperatures in specially-insulated storage tanks.

3 —
Shipping LNG

LNG is pumped into double-hulled ships specifically designed to handle the low temperature of LNG and transported by sea. These carriers are insulated to limit the amount of LNG that evaporates.

4 —
LNG Regasification

Once an LNG ship is at the berth, it transfers its cargo to insulated onshore tanks for storage. When natural gas is needed, the LNG is transported within the terminal to a processing unit. It is warmed to a temperature at which it reverts to its gaseous state. It can then be delivered by pipeline to homes, businesses and power plants.

LNG History

For more than 60 years, the LNG industry has been safely producing, transporting, receiving, and regasifying LNG around the world therefore making LNG a significant supply source for many countries. Since the first LNG ship arrived in Europe in 1964, the LNG industry has been steadily growing; driven by rising natural gas demand in countries where domestic production cannot cover local needs.

Initially, Asia and Africa produced the majority of LNG and, more recently, the Middle East and Trinidad have contributed to LNG production. Recent technological advancements have positioned the United States to become a large contributor to global LNG exports. In 2006, Qatar became the largest LNG producer in the world. The largest consuming regions for LNG include Asia and Europe.

For more information about LNG, visit the Center for LNG

Industry Practices

The Golden Pass export project will be built and operated with the same determined commitment to safety as the existing facilities. LNG export projects undergo a rigorous application and permitting process before receiving approval to move forward. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) evaluates several criteria, such as energy security and price implications, in order to determine if an LNG export project would be in the public interest. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ensures the safe operation and reliability of proposed and operating LNG terminals.

FERC works closely with federal and state agencies in its siting process. The review process ensures LNG terminals and associated LNG vessel traffic meet safety and environmental requirements during construction and operation. FERC is currently responsible for the regulation of the existing Golden Pass LNG facility and pipeline, and will also be responsible for the regulation of the export facility.

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