LNG stands for liquefied natural gas, and is produced by cooling down natural gas below its dew point. 

Methane usually accounts for about 85-95% of LNG, which may also contain other hydrocarbons such as ethane, a little propane and butane (natural gas liquids) and traces of nitrogen.

 LNG shares many of the properties of methane, being odourless, colourless, non-corrosive and non-toxic.

LNG – a unique transport solution

Liquefaction offers a unique solution for transporting natural gas located in areas far from a pipeline infrastructure. 

The volume occupied by liquefied natural gas at atmospheric pressure is about 614 times smaller than its gaseous state. This reduces the space needed to freight a given amount of energy.

LNG is shipped in specially-built carriers from liquefaction plants to large tank farms in buyer countries. These vessels can load from 145,000 to more than 200,000 cubic metres.

The energy volume of such a consignment corresponds to 1-1.4 terawatt-hours (TWh). A TWh equals one billion kilowatt-hours. Since a Norwegian family consumes some 20,000 kWh of electricity per year, one LNG cargo represents the annual power consumption of roughly 50,000 households in Norway.

Useful conversion units relating to LNG:
1 standard cubic metre (scm) LNG = 11 kilowatt-hours (kWh)

Statoil’s LNG involvement and future plans

Research and development relating to liquefied natural gas (LNG) have been pursued by Statoil for more than 20 years. 
The companyhas focused on three approaches to LNG R&D:

  • joint industry projects
  • contract research and purchase of services
  • those aspects of greatest strategic significance for Statoil, which have been tackled in-house.

Together with Linde Statoil developed spirally-wound heat exchangers (SWHE). These can be used for gas liquefaction both on land and in future offshore facilities.

The LNG technology alliance with Linde, which ended in 2007, has also yielded a patented cooling solution, liquefaction process currently used in the Snøhvit LNG plant, which is operated by Statoil. This represents Europe’s first and only large-scale base load gas liquefaction facility plant.

Over two decades, Statoil has supported and built up leading-edge expertise at a number of national and international academic institutions. The results of this commitment include 15 doctoral theses and several industry-financed professorial chairs. 

Statoil will continue to play a leading role in LNG-related R&D in Norway. Its ambition is to be the technological leader in such areas as production optimisation, gas liquefaction, (utfrysning) and carbon dioxide management in the gas chain.