LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas, CH4) is a natural gas in a liquid state, i.e. at a temperature below -162°C (boiling point of methane, the main LNG component). LNG is therefore the result of a technological process involving the processing of natural gas. During liquefaction, the volume decreases more than 600 times, thus increasing the “energy density” of the liquefied natural gas. Liquefaction enables efficient storage of natural gas in relatively limited volume tanks and transport of natural gas in the form of LNG over long distances without the need for a pipeline network.
The process of trade and use of LNG is brought down to several points: extraction of raw natural gas, its purification, liquefaction of natural gas into the form of LNG, LNG loading and sea transport, unloading LNG at an import terminal, storage and re-gasification, and then introduction into the natural gas transmission network. If the regasification process is omitted, natural gas in liquefied form (LNG) shall be transported to end users by cryogenic tankers or by rail.
The share of natural gas in the production of global primary energy is approximately 22%, with 60% of natural gas transport in international trade via the pipeline network and 40% in the form of LNG. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that this proportion will be reversed in 2040 and that the share of LNG in global natural gas consumption will be around 14%.
The main producers and exporters of LNG include countries in the Middle East, North and South America and the Far East. The list of the largest LNG exporters includes countries such as Qatar, Australia, Malaysia, the United States and Russia. The largest importers include Japan, China, South Korea, India and Taiwan.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is becoming increasingly available on global markets, allowing diversification of natural gas supply sources. There are two forms of LNG applications. The first, traditional one consists in regasification of liquefied natural gas and then its injection into the existing transmission network of a given country. The second assumes supplying this raw material in the liquefied form to end users – it is the so-called small scale LNG. The end user may be, among others, the industry in the broad sense, road and sea transport.