INDUSTRIAL SERVICES | LNG
Small Is Beautiful
Small and mid-scale LNG is growing in importance. In particular, offshore mid-scale LNG seems to be here to stay
S mall-scale LNG has traditionally been used to supply small markets remote from pipelines and to provide, on an annual basis, a peak-shaving capability. The peak-shaving business dominates the small-scale industry with a large number of facilities in operation in the United States and Europe.
These facilities produce LNG only for a portion of the year when gas demand (and usually prices) are low, usual- ly in summer. The LNG is stored and then regasified when gas demand rises, typically in winter. There are about 120 peak-shaving plants worldwide, most of which are supplied by road tanker from larger facilities. Known as satellite fa- cilities, they store the gas locally for vaporization and dis- tribution.
Energy demand is rising, particularly in less developed countries, where the gas-fired, combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) is the power generation technology of choice. LNG provides a convenient, environmentally acceptable way of delivering energy to outlying industry and population cen- tres where a pipeline would not be feasible. A small lique-
fier, a couple of satellite facilities and some road tankers can satisfy the demand.
Small-scale LNG projects have generally concentrated on minimizing capital investment. Most peak-shaving plants were built either as a contingency or for limited periods of use. Minimizing capital costs was therefore important, and high operating costs would only be incurred for lim-
NETWORK. The LNG storage facilities liquefy natural gas by cooling it to – 160 degrees centigrade and store it in liquid form.