Liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be stored efficiently and transported long distances independently of pipeline networks – either by ship, truck or train. Over the last ten years, global demand rose annually by around 2.4 percent on average and this trend is set to continue. As an engineering and technology leader, Linde covers a large part of the entire LNG value chain from the source to the point of consumption.
Infrastructure on land plays a key role here. In the Norwegian city of Stavanger, for example, Linde built a particularly energy- efficient natural gas liquefaction plant for the company Skangass AS. The facility went on stream at the end of 2010 with an output of 300,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas per annum. The plant design also includes the option of adding a second liquefaction train in future in order to double the facility’s production capacity.
LNG plant Stavanger, Norway
Benefits from small- to medium-sized LNG plants
Small- to medium-sized natural gas liquefaction facilities like the plant in Stavanger are distribution hubs for the much-in-demand LNG. Unlike large-scale facilities, plants of this size can be located close to industrial parks and cities. They can also be planned and built to much shorter timescales. These smaller facilities are paving the way for companies to cost-effectively tap relatively small isolated reserves that previously would have been too difficult to develop. In addition to the actual liquefaction facility, these smaller plants also come with LNG storage tanks and LNG loading terminals so that the liquefied natural gas can be shipped out by tanker or truck. For LNG to be transported by ship at atmospheric pressure, it first has to be cooled to minus 162 degrees Celsius before being fed into the tanker’s hold via an insulated pump system. Any LNG that evaporates during this process is recovered using special reliquefaction systems.
Patented liquefaction process
At present, natural gas meets around 25 percent of global energy demand. It also reduces carbon dioxide emissions by around 20 percent relative to crude oil. There are currently over 700small- to medium-sized natural gasliquefaction plants in the world. Linde is ideally positioned in this market and offers almost all plant components from a single source. Our patented Linde Multistage Mixed Refrigerant (LIMUM®) process is just one example of our wide-ranging technology expertise in the field of small- to medium- sized LNG plants. This innovative liquefaction process is deployed at the plant in Stavanger, where it consumes significantly less energy than conventional nitrogen expander liquefaction processes.