Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has become a much-in-demand product in the global energy marketplace. The usefulness and popularity of LNG are enhanced by the fact that it has maintained an excellent record of safety, particularly over the past four decades.
The LNG industry has achieved this enviable state of affairs through the use of proven, technologically sound methods of extraction, transportation, and storage, in addition to the implementation of strong regulations. LNG has been a part of the modern energy scene for more than half a century. Each LNG storage facility maintains multiple layers of hazard protections that decrease the likelihood of an accidental release, and these facilities have developed the means to contain and minimize the consequences if an accidental release occurs. In addition, tanker ships created to transport LNG feature sophisticated technology that detects leaks and initiates emergency shutdowns if necessary.
Because it is not stored under high pressure, LNG is not normally explosive. The large reserves of energy stored in it during its liquefied state cannot be released quickly enough to generate the tremendous amounts of pressure conducive to explosions. If accidentally released in water or onto the ground, LNG simply evaporates without leaving a residue.
The conversion of natural gas into LNG makes transportation from remote production areas to consumers easier and safer. In cooling the natural gas to form LNG, producers lower the temperature to -260 degrees Fahrenheit, a change that decreases the volume to 1/600th of the original measurement. It is this compaction and reduction that makes safe transport on specially designed tankers possible. Once it reaches its destination, the LNG is warmed to its previous state and delivered to homes and businesses through existing energy pipeline infrastructure.