From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : LNG
Mains level : Not Much
The EU is weaning itself off piped Russian gas by rapidly expanding imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from US.
What is Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG?
- LNG is natural gas reduced to a liquid state (liquefaction) through intense cooling to around -161 degrees Celsius (-259 Fahrenheit).
- It is constituted almost wholly of methane — a potent greenhouse gas and can be transported around the world by ship.
- This liquid gas is 600 times smaller than the original volume and is half the weight of water.
- After arriving at its destination, the cargo is regasified in a floating terminal and redistributed through pipelines.
Economic feasibility of LNG
- High cost of liquefaction: despite LNG’s export potential, the high cost of liquefaction and producing LNG has limited its market.
- Losses: Between 10-25% of the energy of the gas is being lost during the liquefaction process.
- Costly transport: The cooling, liquefying and transport processes, as well as the post-transport regasification procedures, also require a lot of energy.
What’s the climate impact of LNG?
- Emission: With LNG creating almost 10 times more emissions than piped gas by one estimate, its rapid expansion will likely compromise climate targets.
- Risks of methane leakages: Methane loss across the supply chain risks also contributes to LNG’s high emissions.
- Huge carbon equivalence: Meanwhile, LNG emits 14 times as much carbon as solar power when producing the equivalent amount of energy, and 50 times as much carbon as wind power.