Liquefied Natural Gas

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    Context

    • The European Union (EU) is reducing its dependence on Russian gas by rapidly expanding imports of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

    What is LNG?

    • LNG is natural gas reduced to a liquid state (liquefaction) through intense cooling to around -161 degrees Celsius (-259 Fahrenheit). This liquid gas is 600 times smaller than the original volume and is half the weight of water.
    • LNG is a compressed fossil fuel, which is constituted almost wholly of methane.
    • Liquefaction: The process of making or becoming liquid. LNG is frozen in order to turn it into liquid form.
    • Applications: Power generation, Energy Storage, Transportation, Industrial usage, etc.

    Benefits

    • Greater fuel efficiency: LNG has a higher energy content per unit volume than natural gas in its gaseous form, which means more energy can be stored and transported in the same space.
    • Increased energy security: LNG can be stored and used as needed, reducing dependence on a single source of energy.
    • Export potential: LNG can be transported by ship, allowing for greater flexibility in sourcing and distribution.
    • LNG takes up less storage space on a vehicle than CNG, and it also offers an energy density that can be compared to diesel fuel.
    • Lower carbon emissions: When burned, LNG produces less carbon dioxide than coal or oil.

    Concerns

    • High cost of production: The process of liquefying and transporting LNG is expensive.
    • Environmental impact: The extraction, liquefaction, and transport of LNG can have significant environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and disruption to local ecosystems.
    • Risk of leaks and spills: LNG is highly flammable and can pose a risk of leaks and spills during transport.
    • Limited infrastructure: There is currently limited infrastructure for the storage and distribution of LNG, which can make it difficult to implement on a large scale.
    • Limited availability: Natural gas resources are not evenly distributed around the world and LNG will not be a solution for all countries.

    Reasons for EU shift towards LNG

    • Diversification of energy sources: The EU is looking to diversify its energy sources to reduce dependence on a single source of energy and improve energy security.
    • Security of Supply: LNG can be imported from a variety of countries, reducing the risk of disruption to gas supplies in the event of political conflicts or other disruptions.
    • Reducing dependence on Russia: Europe is looking to reduce its dependence on Russia as the main supplier of natural gas, and LNG allows countries to import gas from other sources.
    • Shale Gas revolution in the USA: The shale gas revolution in the USA has made LNG exports more competitive and accessible to the European market thus more imports of LNG from the USA.
    • Infrastructure: The EU has been investing in LNG terminals and other infrastructure to import and distribute LNG, making it a more viable option for the region.
    • Increased demand for natural gas: With the shift towards cleaner energy, natural gas is becoming an important transition fuel, as it is considered cleaner than coal or oil.

    Source:  IE