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Questions about Liquefied Natural Gas

By The Energy Tellers

Why do we need natural gas?
Natural gas has strong calorific potential, i.e. it emits a lot of heat when burnt. This warmth can be used directly as a source of heating or by extension to generate electricity. It represents around 20% of the world’s energy consumption (source: International Energy Agency) and natural gas is the third most-used energy source after oil and coal.

Why is natural gas liquefied?
The answer is simple: in liquid form, natural gas occupies 1/600th of the space that it does as gas! So for the same container volume, it is possible to significantly increase the amount of gas transported/stored. During their visit to the Everett plant in the United States, the Golden Eyes produced a fantastic video on the subject:

Is all extracted natural gas liquefied?
No. LNG only accounts for 30% of the global natural gas trade (source: GIIGNL). Natural gas is only liquefied if the distance between the well and the customer is too great, or if the building of a gas pipeline is too difficult.

How can gas extracted on the other side of the world be burning in my boiler?
First of all, you extract the gas from natural wells that are several hundred meters deep. It is then chilled to just minus 160º celsius in a liquefaction plant and labelled LNG! A gas tanker then stocks up with the LNG and transports it to a gas terminal. The LNG is unloaded and stored in huge tanks. Then, having undergone a re-gasification process, the natural gas is sent from the terminal through the gas transportation network and channeled to the end customer.

What happens at a methane plant?
We suggest you watch this short 90-second clip which explains how a methane plant works. The clip was created by Elengy, GDF SUEZ subsidiary (please note that this video clip is in French).

So where does GDF SUEZ fit into all this?
As a major gas operator, GDF SUEZ is active throughout the gas chain: from exploration and production via transport and storage to marketing and distribution, without forgetting the related energy services.

Why are you telling us about this?
Because it’s interesting, often unknown, and because we are spending a fortnight at Fos-sur-Mer at the methane plants of Elengy, GDF SUEZ subsidiary in the Infrastructure business line.


About the GDF SUEZ Golden Mission
The GDF SUEZ Golden Mission, a round-the-world look at GDF SUEZ’s business lines. The Golden Mission is an exceptional work experience program for 4 young graduates who are interested in, and motivated by the energy and environment business lines. Split into pairs, they visit several countries over 4 months, meeting with GDF SUEZ staff and discovering our business lines. To complete their mission, they share their experiences and encounters on an online blog.

More info on www.generationhorizons.com


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12/10/2011 12:55:14