Natural gas is projected to be the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the coming decades, and Liquefied Natural Gas – or “LNG” – is natural gas in liquid form. When natural gas at ambient pressure is cooled to about minus162 degrees Celsius (-162o c), it becomes “liquefied” and reduces in volume to approximately 1/600 of its original size, making it easier to transport and store.

Why use LNG?

LNG offers tremendous benefits for consumers and the environment: It is versatile, clean-burning, safe, and abundant. Once LNG is re-gasified it can be made available for a variety of uses. The most common use is power and water generation at a natural gas fired power and water production plant, but other uses include being a raw material for manufactured products, or as a fuel used for industrial purposes such as producing steel, or for businesses purposes, such as heating and cooking.

  • Versatile:LNG, once re-gasified, can be used by industrial, commercial and residential end users for power generation, manufacturing, and for heating, and cooking.
  • Clean-burning:Natural gas emits half as much carbon dioxide when burned compared to coal or oil, and has almost no contaminants such as Sulphur or Heavy metals.  Using more natural gas to replace polluting fuels all over the world, can help make the global environment cleaner. 
  • Safe fuel:LNG’s physical and chemical properties – including the fact that it will not ignite in its liquid state — make it safer than other commonly used hydrocarbons. 
  • Safe to store:The supply of LNG at the Bahrain Import Terminal will be stored in a purpose built Floating Storage Unit – or “FSU”- a ship called “Bahrain Spirit” that will be continuously moored at the Bahrain LNG Import Terminal and which will have deliveries of LNG transferred into it via the Terminal. The ship will hold up to 173,400 cubic metres of LNG, which is held in specially designed double containment barrier tanks at near atmospheric pressure, making the risk of spillage from the storage extremely unlikely.
  • Abundant: With proven global natural gas reserves (BP 2016) of over 180,000 billion cubic metres of technically recoverable natural gas, this is 50 years reserve over 2016 global natural gas production. Global LNG production consumes less than 10% of the natural gas production, with global LNG production facilities, transport and demand steadily growing from 312 billion cubic metres per year (Shell 2017), LNG will be abundantly available for many years to come.
  • Economic benefits:LNG is a competitively priced fuel in the global market and is increasingly the fuel of choice for energy suppliers globally.
  • Geopolitical benefits:The proven natural gas reserves are widely distributed globally with the top 10 supply countries holding only 58% of the reserves.  This makes the global gas market bigger, more fluid and more diverse. 

How LNG is made, transported and used

The liquefaction process begins when natural gas is transported via pipeline to a liquefaction facility. There, components that will freeze at low temperatures (water, carbon dioxide, and heavier hydrocarbons) are removed and the remaining gas is chilled to about -162 degrees Centigrade, at which point the gas becomes a liquid. The LNG is then loaded onto specialized LNG carriers for transport. Some of the largest LNG tankers can carry enough natural gas to supply almost the entire Bahrain natural gas demand for one week.

When the LNG reaches an offloading facility, it may be re-gasified and then transported by pipeline to:-

  • power plants for use in power and water generation;
  • industrial facilities, for the manufacturing of steel, automobiles, and chemicals;
  • homes and office buildings, for heating, and cooking.

LNG can also be transported locally in a tanker truck, which will deliver it to other local storage facilities in its liquid state for use as a fuel to serve industrial and commercial end users that are not directly connected to the natural gas pipeline system, or as fuel for road transport such as buses and mobile industrial plant.

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