Changing natural gas to its liquid state makes storage and transportation of the resource much easier, as it shrinks in volume about 600 times. Liquified natural gas, commonly referred to as LNG results when natural gas has been cooled to a low temperature of -260 degrees F. Impurities are removed and the nontoxic liquid is clear, odorless and noncorrosive.
The condensed liquid is transported by ship and when it reaches its destination, it is off-loaded into insulated storage tanks. Regasification is the process that converts LNG to its gas form, which then enters a pipeline distribution center and can be delivered to the consumer.
LNG exports from the United States provide the global market with a safe, alternative and reliable source of energy. And exporting natural gas offers economic benefits to the United States, including the thousands of jobs created by domestic production. It is estimated that the export of LNG could provide $10 billion to $31 billion to natural gas producing states. Demand for supporting equipment and goods and other materials like steel and cement benefits even non-natural gas producing states.
Over several decades, LNG and its exportation have been handled safely; more than 135,000 carrier voyages have occurred without major accident or security issues. LNG ships are designed to prevent rupture or leakage and they are equipped with numerous technologies for safety and accident prevention.
To ensure safe handling and transport, LNG is regulated by the following federal agencies, among others:
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- Department of Transportation
- S. Coast Guard
- Department of Homeland Security