Q. What is LNG?
Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, is the liquid form of natural gas and has been used in homes and factories around the world for more than 40 years.
LNG is formed by super-cooling natural gas to very low temperatures (-162°C), at which point natural gas condenses into a liquid. This process is referred to as liquefaction.
Q. Why convert natural gas to a liquid?
Converting natural gas to a liquid reduces its volume by around 600 to 1, making it much easier and more economical to transport over large distances and store in large quantities. One tanker load of LNG is equivalent to 600 tanker loads of natural gas.
Q. Why are countries looking to LNG as an alternative source of energy?
After converting LNG back to natural gas, the natural gas provides energy for homes and businesses. LNG is a clean burning fuel that has been used for more than 40 years in countries such as the USA, Korea and Japan. Improved technology is now making it more economical to produce, transport and store, therefore opening up a wider market for its use.
As a result, LNG is becoming an increasingly interesting alternative to oil or piped gas (natural gas transported from its country of origin through pipelines). LNG is the best technology for large-scale movement of natural gas over long distances.
Q. How is natural gas liquefied?
Natural gas is cooled in a large refrigeration system to -162°C (-260°F). This can be done at either the point of origin (gas production field) or the point of departure (LNG off load terminal).
Q. How is LNG kept cold?
LNG is stored in large insulated tanks. The insulation of the tanks, as efficient as it is, does allow some warming of the liquid, called boil off. This boil-off gas is collected from the tank and sent to the gas output line connecting to the natural gas grid, or used as fuel on the site.
Q. How many LNG carriers will use the terminal annually?
Initially, in the first several years of its operation, two vessels per week (about 104 per year) will be visiting the terminal. Depending on the future demand for LNG, over the next decade the number of LNG carriers could increase to about 400 annually.
Q. Where does the LNG come from?
LNG mainly comes from the areas in the world where large discoveries of gas have been made such as North Africa, the Middle East and the West Indies. Examples of LNG producing countries are Algeria, Trinidad, Oman and Qatar.
Q. Where else in the world is LNG used?
LNG receiving terminals are located throughout the world, predominantly in Japan, but also in Korea, the USA, Belgium, Spain, France, Portugal and Turkey. In Canada, several additional terminals are either under construction or planned to meet growing demand for cleaner energy sources.
Q. How will LNG be brought to Grassy Point, Placentia Bay?
LNG will be delivered to Placentia Bay by LNG carriers/ships, which would berth at a jetty. LNG carriers are different from the traditional oil tankers. The ships can carry up to 145,000-265,000 m³ of LNG. (For more information on LNG tanker safety view our Environment and Safety page.)
Q. How do you store LNG?
LNG is stored in specially designed tanks consisting of an internal layer of metal that includes nine per cent nickel for extra strength. Additional layers of carbon steel, insulation and concrete are also part of the tank design.
Modern gas-detection systems can identify any breach in containment and immediately shut off valves to prevent leaks and spills. These detection systems are so sensitive they can detect a leak the size of a pinhole.
The inner shell is made of a special nickel alloy, designed to resist the low temperatures. The outer shell is of pre-stressed concrete with a reinforced concrete base slab and roof.
Sophisticated automatic protection systems are employed to monitor the tank levels, pressures, temperatures and any potential leakage from the inner tank.