Natural gas needs to be transported over long distances across oceans. This need has led to the development of the international LNG (liquefied natural gas) trade. LNG is transported overseas in specially built tanks on double-hulled ships to a receiving terminal, where it is offloaded and stored in heavily insulated tanks. In regasification facilities at the receiving terminal, the LNG is returned to its gaseous state (or regasified) and then carried by pipeline for distribution to power stations and other natural gas customers.

From well to grid

Exploring and drilling, Production and liquefaction, Shipping, Ragasification, Power generation

Exploring and drilling

Natural gas is produced and transported via pipeline to natural gas liquefaction facilities located along the coast of the producing country. The advent of floating liquefaction will also see the gas being piped to offshore liquefaction facilities.

Production and liquefaction

Natural gas is cooled to a temperature of minus 162 degrees Celsius, transforming the gas into a liquid, which reduces its volume to about one-600th of its volume in a gaseous state. This reduction in volume makes storage and long-distance transportation by ship viable. This process enables countries with limited natural gas reserves, and limited access to long-distance transmission pipelines or concerns over security of supply, to meet their demand for natural gas.

Shipping

LNG is loaded onto specially designed, double-hulled LNG carriers and transported overseas from the liquefaction facility to the receiving terminal.

Regasification

At the receiving terminal (either onshore or aboard specialised LNG carriers called floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs)), the LNG is returned to its gaseous state, or regasified.

Power generation

Once regasified, the natural gas is stored in specially designed facilities or transported to power producers or natural gas consumers via pipelines.