Shipping LNG around the world allows customers in regions without readily available natural gas resources to benefit from clean and affordable natural gas. LNG is shipped in specially designed, ocean-going LNG carriers. LNG carriers come in various sizes and employ different technologies but all of them have containment systems that store LNG at atmospheric pressure while maintaining a temperature of at least -162 degrees Celsius.
LNG shipping has been carried out successfully and safely for over 50 years. During this period LNG shipments have covered more than 100 million miles – about 4,000 times around the earth – without major safety incidents either in port or at sea. Nearly all LNG carriers have a full double-bottom and side tank ballast system to ensure safety.
The global market for LNG is growing, and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the years ahead. The global LNG market is expected to grow by 50 percent between 2015 and 2020, making LNG one of the fastest growing fuels in the world. As the technology to receive and handle LNG proliferates globally, more and more countries are choosing to import LNG because it is affordable, clean burning, and because it can be used for many different applications including power generation, home heating and cooking, and as a chemical or fertilizer feedstock.
Growth in the global LNG market, and demand for US LNG specifically, has been fueled by several developments including the widening of the Panama Canal, which can now accommodate 90 percent of all LNG carriers. By transiting the Panama Canal LNG carriers from the US Gulf Coast can now reach Asia in a voyage of approximately 20 days, which is 11 – 14 faster than previous routes. This expedited route saves time and money making US LNG even more competitive on the global market.