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Liquefied natural gas

Shell’s Gemmata LNG vessel ships natural gas to costumers around the world. (photo)
Shell’s Gemmata LNG vessel ships
natural gas to customers around
the world.

Shell pioneered liquefied natural gas (LNG) more than four decades ago as a way to transport natural gas from remote areas to distant markets. Cooling the gas to -162 ºC turns it into liquid and shrinks its volume by 600 times, allowing us to ship it around the world. At its destination, the LNG is turned back into gas for our customers. Today, we are one of the largest LNG suppliers, with facilities worldwide. With the abundance of natural gas in North America, the industry is exploring new opportunities to export LNG to countries where it is needed.

The Gorgon LNG project (Shell interest 25%) is under construction on Barrow Island, around 50 km off the north-west coast of Western Australia. The Greater Gorgon fields are the largest gas discoveries in Australia to date and are expected to be in production for over 40 years. The project will include the world’s largest operation to capture CO2 produced with natural gas and store it safely underground. It is expected to capture and store 3 to 4 million tonnes of CO2 a year, over 2 km beneath Barrow Island.

Floating LNG

Shell is developing an innovative approach to producing more natural gas from remote offshore locations. Our giant floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, under construction in South Korea, will combine production, processing and storage capacity without the need to build an onshore plant or lay a pipeline on the sea floor.

FLNG allows access to offshore gas fields that would otherwise be too costly or difficult to develop. Our facility will enable the development of the remote Prelude gas field off the coast of Western Australia. When built it will be the largest offshore floating facility in the world, stretching the length of four football fields. The project will use significantly less material, take up less land and disturb a smaller area of seabed than an onshore facility. FLNG avoids the need for shoreline pipe crossings, dredging and jetty works, so developing the gas at the location of the gas field offshore will reduce impact on coastal habitats.

LNG in transport

LNG has been used as a fuel for LNG ocean tankers for several decades, but it is now emerging as a cleaner fuel for other forms of shipping and for road transport. Shell is developing an LNG-for-shipping business. In 2012, we acquired Gasnor, a Norwegian firm that supplies LNG as a fuel to shipping companies and industrial customers. We also chartered the first two LNG-powered barges for carrying goods on Europe’s inland waterways, which started operations in early 2013.

In 2012, we began constructing a small-scale production plant at the Jumping Pound complex in Alberta, Canada, to produce LNG for transport fuel. This will be sold at truck stops along a busy route in northern Alberta, Canada. The first station opened in early 2013. Until our plant is completed, other suppliers will deliver the fuel. Also in early 2013, we announced plans to build two more small-scale plants to produce LNG for road transport in the US Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions. We have further plans to provide LNG to power marine transport in the Gulf of Mexico in the future.

Gas to liquids

The world’s largest gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant, our Pearl project in Qatar, can produce 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a day of synthetic oil products. The plant can also produce 120,000 boe a day of natural gas liquids and ethane for industrial use. The plant uses heat from the processes to convert water into steam that drives its compressors and generates electricity. It also has the largest water-recycling system of its kind that reuses water in steam production and cooling. It can process 45,000 cubic metres of water a day, without discharging liquids from the plant.