Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the liquid form of the same clean and safe natural gas used in homes every day for heating, cooling and cooking. When converted to its liquid form, natural gas occupies about 600 times less space than it does in its gas form, allowing LNG to be easily stored in tanks or pumped into ships and transported globally. As a result, LNG offers a cost-effective method for transporting natural gas over long distances.
To transform natural gas into LNG, the natural gas is cooled to a temperature of negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting LNG is colorless, odorless, non-corrosive and non-toxic, and it can just as easily be converted back into natural gas.
LNG itself is a safe, odorless, non-toxic and environmentally friendly fuel. When exposed to the environment, LNG rapidly evaporates and disperses, leaving no residue on water or soil. LNG can only burn in a highly unlikely combination of events – if it is vaporized, mixed with the right amount of air and provided a source of ignition.
Shipping and Storage
LNG is pumped into double-hulled ships specifically designed to safely store LNG at -260°F, and transported by sea. Once an LNG ship is at the berth, LNG is transferred to and stored in insulated onshore tanks. When natural gas is needed, the LNG is transported within the terminal to a processing unit, where 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 ships are designed to operate safely in accordance with stringent industry and government standards. All ships are double-hulled, with more than six feet of space between the outer and inner hulls and the cargo tanks to prevent leakage or rupture in the event of an accident. LNG ships are also equipped with sophisticated leak-detection technology, emergency shutdown systems, advanced radar and positioning systems and numerous other technologies designed to provide for the safe transport of LNG.
For more information about LNG, visit the Center for LNG.