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26 October 2012 @ 09:00 am
theoildrum: LNG  

A tanker docked at the Nikiski, Alaska, LNG plant.

LNG touches only a small portion of the world's gas supply, but it's the fastest-growing portion. Since 2000, global demand for LNG has grown 140 percent and now accounts for roughly 10 percent of the methane consumed worldwide.

Since 2006, Norway, Russia, Yemen, Peru, Angola and Equatorial Guinea all have started making LNG, while Qatar, Nigeria, Australia, Oman and Indonesia have expanded production.

Last year Qatari plants exported almost one-third of the LNG traded across the globe. In the mid-2000s, with construction under way, Qatari officials thought they'd be selling much of their LNG to the United States. The Lower 48 shale-gas boom blew apart that plan. But last year, as Japan idled nuclear power production after the Fukushima disaster, Qatari exports to Japan soared 56 percent over their 2010 level, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. That dulled Qatar's pain of losing the U.S. market.



LNG is exported from 19 countries, including from one U.S. plant in Nikiski, Alaska.







About 10 to 15 percent of the gas gets consumed during the process. Much of it to run the plant's turbines, compressors and other machinery.

At the end of 2011, 360 ships comprised the global LNG fleet, according to the International Gas Union. Ships typically get built in tandem with LNG plants and get contracted to sail between the plant and its customers. Just as the capacity to make LNG has skyrocketed in recent years, so has the tanker capacity, growing 150 percent since 2006, the IGU said.

The average tanker capacity is about 3.1 bcf of gas (after the liquid gets converted back into a vapor). South Korea is the big builder of tankers. An average one can cost at least $150 million. The largest tankers were built for the Qatar expansion. They can carry about 5.5 bcf, but the tankers are too big for some LNG receiving ports.

As an export product, LNG dates back less than 50 years, to 1964.
That year a British shipyard launched the Methane Princess, a tanker that carried the first commercial load of LNG, from a new plant in Algeria to a gas-hungry United Kingdom.

Within a few years, Algeria was sending LNG to France, too, and Libya was exporting it to Italy and Spain. In 1969, a new Phillips and Marathon plant in Nikiski, Alaska, started shipping LNG made of Cook Inlet natural gas to Japan, inaugurating LNG trade to Asia. Japan is the world's top LNG consumer today.



The idea of water-borne LNG deliveries started to get traction in the mid-1950s.

New gas discoveries in Algeria made that country the first mover in LNG exports. The Methane Princess, carrying the world's first commercial load to Canvey Island, was small by today's standards. It could carry up to about 500 million cubic feet of gas (after regasification). The average LNG tanker today is five times larger.

But the Methane Princess proved to be a workhorse through the early years of LNG export. The vessel was finally scrapped in India during the mid-1990s. Another tanker with the same name sails in the LNG trade today.

http://www.arcticgas.gov/lng-cold-facts-about-hot-commodity
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9526