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Liquefied Natural Gas

What is LNG?

LNG is simply natural gas in its liquid state. When natural gas is chilled to a temperature of about minus 160° C (minus 260° F) at atmospheric pressure, it becomes a clear, colourless and odourless liquid.

LNG is non-corrosive and non-toxic. However, due to its extreme cold nature, LNG can flash freeze any flesh it touches if released, and so must be carefully manufactured and stored.

The liquefaction process removes water, oxygen, carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds contained in the natural gas. This results in an LNG composition of mostly methane with small amounts of other hydrocarbons and nitrogen.

As a liquid, natural gas is reduced to 1/600th of its original volume. This makes it feasible and economical to transport over long distances in specially designed ocean tankers. Once received, the LNG goes into storage tanks, is regassified, and delivered to markets.

LNG Supply Chain

The LNG supply chain (as illustrated in the figure below) consists of several interconnected elements.

Illustration of the LNG Supply Chain.
Text version - LNG Supply Chain

Interconnected elements include the gas field, liquefaction plant, LNG storage tank, LNG tanker, LNG storage tank, vaporizers, and pipeline systems.

In LNG exporting countries, natural gas is extracted from basins and transported by pipeline to liquefaction plants. There, the natural gas is liquefied and stored.

Liquefaction plants are built at marine terminals so the LNG can be loaded onto special tankers for transport overseas. After tankers deliver the LNG cargo to import terminals, the LNG is stored, regassified and injected into pipeline systems for delivery to end users.


Canadian LNG Projects

Canada has one operating LNG import facility, the Canaport terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick.

At present, there are several proposals for LNG export facilities in Canada. Consult Canadian LNG Projects for more information on the status of Canadian projects.

Useful Links

These websites provide useful background information on LNG and LNG regulatory processes in Canada.

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