Shell: How Does LNG Work?

Credit: Diogo Hungria/Unsplash

A recent news article published in the Shell website explains what is LNG and how it is prepared.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG)

Many people in need of energy are located far from gas fields, making pipelines too impractical or costly to build. To get around this problem, gas can be cooled to make a liquid, shrinking its volume for easier, safer storage and shipping overseas. This process creates liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Shell has been a pioneer in LNG for more than 50 years. In Arzew, Algeria, the first commercial LNG liquefaction plant was delivered in 1964 with Shell involvement, and we shipped the first commercial cargo from Algeria to the UK in the same year, starting today’s global trade.

We have continued to innovate and improve the technology behind LNG and have worked hard to expand the availability of LNG around the world. For instance, we developed Prelude FLNG, the world’s largest floating LNG production facility, which accesses gas resources from underwater fields too uneconomic or challenging to reach from land.

What is LNG and how can we use it?

LNG is a clear, colourless and non-toxic liquid which forms when natural gas is cooled to -162ºC (-260ºF). The cooling process shrinks the volume of the gas by 600 times, making it possible to store and ship safely. In its liquid state, LNG will not ignite.

When LNG reaches its destination, it is turned back into a gas at regasification plants. It is then piped to homes, businesses and industries where it is burnt for heat or to generate electricity. LNG is now emerging as a cost-competitive and cleaner transport fuel, especially for shipping and heavy-duty road transport.

How do we make LNG?

Shell has played a leading role in technical safety research for many years. Our research has supported the development of safe designs for onshore and offshore LNG facilities, terminals and ships.


Multiple layers of protection at LNG facilities are designed to reduce the risk of incidents, for example by minimising any confined spaces where LNG vapour could accumulate and removing ignition sources.

Fuelling a growing market with LNG

In recent years, the role of LNG in the energy mix has expanded rapidly. LNG trade increased from 100 million tonnes in 2000 to nearly 400 million tonnes in 2022. Shell is involved at every stage of the LNG journey: finding the fields and extracting gas, liquefying gas and shipping it, then turning the LNG back into gas and distributing it to customers. Shell joint ventures operate a diverse portfolio of LNG plants and terminals around the world.

Our LNG presence

Shell is one of the world’s largest LNG shipping operators, managing and operating more than 18 carriers and with 65 on time-charter. Combined, these LNG carriers constitute around 11% of the global LNG shipping fleet.

Our trading business buys and sells LNG to and from Shell, its partners and third parties, helping to meet customers’ long-term energy needs and respond flexibly to short-term changes in demand.

Today Shell has LNG supply projects around the world. We also have a major interest in two regasification plants – Hazira, India and Dragon, UK – and long-term access to capacity in several others in Europe, the Middle East and North America.


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Source: Vancouver Sun


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