Unlocking stranded natural gas with small-scale LNG plants

by | LNG Logistics

By: PolaireTech
PolaireTech is a technology company that supplies technology for the construction of small-scale, standardized, modular plants for the liquefaction of natural gas.

LNG plants are designed to convert natural gas into LNG by cooling it to cryogenic temperatures (-162°C), which reduces its volume significantly and makes it easier to transport and store.

Stranded Gas Reserves

Small-scale LNG technology enables the utilization of stranded gas resources that would otherwise remain untapped or underutilized. Stranded natural gas refers to gas reserves that are located in remote or economically challenging locations, making it difficult to transport and utilize the gas through traditional pipelines. This includes associated gas from oil fields, flared gas, biogas from waste disposal facilities or water treatment plants, or low-yielding gas reserves such as coal-bed methane from coal fields.

Small-scale LNG Logistics

Small-scale LNG plants enable access to new markets, such as off-grid power generation, industrial facilities, and smaller consumers that may not have access to a pipeline. It can also serve as a reliable source of electricity and heat in regions that are not connected to the main gas grid.  LNG is easier to transport over long distances compared to natural gas in its gaseous form. It can be transported by road, rail, or sea in specially designed cryogenic containers, allowing access to a wider range of markets.

Economic Viability

Small-scale LNG projects can be economically viable in regions with sufficient stranded gas resources and a demand for LNG. They offer a more sustainable and cost-effective solution compared to venting or flaring excess gas. Small-scale LNG plants are typically modular in design, making them more flexible and cost-effective. These modular units can be transported to remote locations and assembled on-site, reducing infrastructure costs and lead times.

Environmental Benefits

By converting stranded natural gas into LNG and transporting it to consumers, small-scale LNG plants can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by preventing the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and decreasing the environmental impact of flaring. This reduces waste, as flaring associated gas is both environmentally harmful and a lost energy resource.

Project Challenges

However, it’s important to consider various challenges associated with small-scale LNG, such as the initial investment costs, transportation logistics, and the need for appropriate safety measures to handle cryogenic fuels. Additionally, the environmental impact of LNG production and transportation should be carefully managed to minimize methane leakage, which can offset some of the environmental benefits.

Overall, small-scale LNG plants play a vital role in reducing waste and emissions associated with stranded gas resources while expanding access to natural gas in areas where traditional pipelines are not feasible.

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