Have you ever wondered how natural gas gets from the fields to our homes? You will be surprised to learn the whole process! In this article, we will discover how natural gas is transported and what the process is like at sea and on land. Read on to find out!
Onshore natural gas transportation: gas pipelines
Natural gas transportation begins at the fields, where it is extracted and shipped through a complex network of pipelines, compressors and control stations. These pipelines, known as gas pipelines, are the most common way of transporting natural gas over long distances.
Gas pipelines can be of different diameters and are made of steel or high-density plastic. Compressors are machines that increase the pressure of gas so that it can flow through pipelines. Control stations help regulate the pressure and flow of gas in the pipeline network.
Transporting natural gas by sea: LNG tankers
When there are no pipelines connecting two points, it is necessary to resort to another form of transport: methane tankers, also known as cryogenic ships. Here we explain how gas is transported by sea.
Natural gas liquefaction
Before being transported in LNG carriers, natural gas must be transformed into liquefied natural gas (LNG). This process involves cooling the gas to a temperature of approximately -160°C, which reduces its volume by 600%. This facilitates storage and transport.
Methane tankers and their characteristics
LNG carriers are vessels specially designed to transport large quantities of LNG. They are equipped with cryogenic tanks that keep the liquefied natural gas at the required temperature. In addition, these vessels are equipped with safety and control systems to ensure that transportation is carried out safely and efficiently.
The regasification process
Once the LNG arrives at its destination, it must go through a regasification process before being injected into the pipeline network. This process involves heating the LNG to return it to its gaseous state. The pressure is then regulated and sent through the pipeline network to reach consumers.
Why is it important to know how natural gas is transported by sea?
Knowing how natural gas is transported helps us to understand the complexity of the process and the importance of the infrastructures necessary to carry it out. It also allows us to appreciate the effort and investment required to ensure that natural gas reaches our homes and industries safely and efficiently.
In a nutshell
Natural gas transportation is a complex process involving a series of specific stages and technologies. From field extraction to regasification, each step is crucial to ensure that gas reaches consumers safely and efficiently. Inland transportation through pipelines is the most common form, while sea transportation through methane tankers is used when pipeline connections are not available.
Understanding how natural gas is transported allows us to appreciate the importance of this energy resource and the infrastructure necessary for its distribution.