Decarbonisation Technology August 2022 issue

Best practices in decarbonisation for LNG export facilities Reducing emissions from LNG plants can be technically feasible and economically viable as well as environmentally desirable

Peter Zhang Gulf LNG Solutions Saeid Mokhatab LNG Consultant

R ecently, all business organisations have been under greater pressure from both the public and investors to manage their operations associated with reducing carbon footprints. As the US liquefied natural gas (LNG) market continues to grow due to globally increased demand for cleaner energy, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from each stage of the LNG value chain has become particularly important to LNG project developers and facility owners. Carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions associated with the liquefaction process account for approximately 6 to 10% of overall GHG emissions of the entire LNG value chain. Decarbonising current LNG export facilities is a difficult challenge for facility owners. Not only do they need to justify the increased cost associated with deploying various decarbonisation options, but they also must find those options that have demonstrated unmitigated success and can meet owners’ unique decarbonisation goals.

This article reviews some of the best practices in addressing decarbonisation for LNG export facilities from an engineering design point of view. Not all LNG projects are designed equally and with the same level of emissions. As a result, the authors believe there are opportunities for LNG facility owners to address the unique decarbonisation issues associated with their existing facilities, and for LNG project developers to do it right in the first place during the development of new projects. Process overview of LNG export facilities An LNG export facility (see Figure 1 ) is typically comprised of natural gas treating facilities, one or more liquefaction trains, LNG storage tanks, one or more LNG ship-loading facilities, as well as supporting infrastructure and utilities. In the natural gas liquefaction plant, LNG is produced from a cryogenic liquefaction process where natural gas (mainly methane) is cooled down to approximately -160 o C (-256 o F) at 103 kPa (15 psi)

Natural gas pipeline

LNG storage tanks

Ship loading facilities

Natural gas pretreatment facilities

Natural gas liquefaction trains

LNG ship

Figure 1 LNG export facility


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