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Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is gaining increasing significance throughout the world. One reason is that smaller LNG tankers and trucks can bring this fuel to regions that are not connected by natural gas pipelines. The distribution starting points are LNG terminals. In May 2011, the first of these small scale LNG terminals went on stream outside Stockholm, Sweden in the Baltic Sea region – engineered and operated by Linde Group member AGA Gas AB. The facility is set to supply the eastern part of Sweden with LNG. Gothenburg-based cryogenic and storage specialists Cryo AB, also a member of The Linde Group, provided the complete storage tank facility, inclusive engineers, project management and construction.
Mid-sized LNG plant in Stavanger
In the case of Stockholm terminal in Nynäshamn, the natural gas begins its journey in Stavanger, Norway, where a particularly energy-efficient liquefaction plant generates the LNG. Built by Linde's Engineering Division for Skangass AS, this mid-sized facility produces 300,000 tonnes per year.
It has been on stream since the end of 2010, delivering LNG to the Stockholm terminal by tanker. One of these dedicated carriers currently transports 7,500 cubic metres of LNG from this plant to Sweden – as of 2013, this figure is set to rise to 15,000 cubic metres after a new ship is commissioned. On arrival, the LNG is either transferred to the terminal tank and then to trucks for further transport, or vaporised. The terminal tank is constructed with a steel and concrete wall and has a height and diameter of almost 36 metres. These stationary tanks can store up to 8,500 tonnes of LNG, which corresponds to circa twelve million cubic meters of gas.
To transport the LNG further, it is transferred via a cryogenic system of pumps, pipes and tubes. The gas that evaporates during this process is recaptured by purpose-built re-liquefaction units. As a one-stop provider, Linde delivered all the components for the Nynäshamn terminal – from the LNG production plant in Stavanger to the storage tanks for trucks and ships, and from the on-site storage units to gasification facilities and systems to convert the LNG back into gas.
At present, there are around 70 LNG terminals worldwide. Small-scale facilities such as the one in Nynäshamn are still the exception but offer a significant benefit, which is now boosting demand – their size makes them ideal for sites near industrial parks and cities, keeping them close to customers and the point of use. The Stockholm terminal, for example, also supplies LNG to the neighbouring crude oil refinery, run by the company Nynas. From this natural gas, the refinery generates the hydrogen it needs to process crude oil. In the past it used naphtha but the switch to natural gas will cut the refinery’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to 58,000 tonnes per year.
Extraction, liquefaction and transport
The tankers deliver their cargo to LNG terminals on the coast, for example in Nynäshamn near Stockholm, Sweden. Both spherical as well as modern membrane tankers are built with double walls for safe transport.
At a glance
Increasing importance of small- and mid-scale LNG plants
Size makes them ideal for locations near industrial parks and cities, close to customers
Compared to fossil fuels, natural gas reduces CO2 emissions by circa 20 percent.
- Linde delivers all necessary components: from the LNG production plant to the storage tanks for trucks and ships, and from the on-site storage units to gasification facilities and systems to convert the LNG back into gas.
The Baltic Sea's first LNG terminal in Nynäshamn (S)
Australia's first LNG plant in Dandenong
Stavanger (N), Kwinana (AUS), Shan-Shan
and JiMunai (PRC)