Studies

Safety

LNG Shipping at 50

Society of International Gas Tanker & Terminal Operators

“In the 50 years since they loaded their first commercial shipment, LNG carriers have safely delivered over 77,000 cargoes. These consignments all reached their destinations with no breach of a cargo containment system and with no onboard fatalities directly attributable to the cargo. This is a very impressive, in fact unprecedented, safety record for the carriage of liquid hydrocarbons by sea in bulk. This exemplary safety record is due to several reasons. These include, but are not limited to, a strong, overarching safety philosophy; robust equipment and systems design; good operational and maintenance procedures; operating in excess of the minimum requirements and according to best practice guidelines; and high standards of training coupled with competency verification.”

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Infrastructure Security: Issues for Congress

Congressional Research Service

“The LNG marine safety record is partly due to the doublehulled design of LNG tankers. This design makes them more robust and less prone to accidental spills than single-hulled oil and fuel tankers like the Exxon Valdez, which caused a major Alaskan oil spill after grounding in 1989.”

Breach and Safety Analysis of Spills Over Water from Large Liquefied Natural Gas Carriers

Sandia National Laboratories

“The likelihood of a natural gas cloud fully extending, especially in a near-shore urban area, and then igniting is very low.”

Guidance on Risk Analysis and Safety Implications of a Large Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Spill Over Water

Sandia National Laboratories

“Risks from accidental LNG spills, such as from collisions and groundings, are small and manageable with current safety policies and practices.”

Consequence Assessment Methods for Incidents Involving Releases from Liquefied Natural Gas Carriers

ABS Consulting

“As a liquid, LNG will neither burn nor explode.”

“Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been transported by sea since 1959 in specially designed LNG carriers. These vessels have a remarkable safety record and provide an essential link in the movement of LNG from production locations to consumer locations.”

“LNG is less hazardous than liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied ethylene, which have (1) higher specific gravities, (2) a greater tendency to form explosive vapor clouds, (3) lower minimum ignition energies (MIEs), and (4) higher fundamental burning velocities. LNG is not toxic, and it rapidly evaporates; therefore, long-term environmental impacts from a release are negligible if there is no ignition of natural gas vapors.”

LNG Safety and Security

University of Houston Law Center, Institute for Energy, Law & Enterprise

“Explosion is a hazard unlikely to occur with LNG activity. LNG in liquid form itself will not explode within storage tanks, since it is stored approximately -256°F (- 160°C) and at atmospheric pressure. Without pressure or confinement or heavily obstructed clouds of the vapors, there can be no explosion.”

“LNG vapor, mainly methane (natural gas), burns only within the narrow range of a 5 percent to 15 percent gas-to-air mixture. If the fuel concentration is lower than 5 percent, it cannot burn because of insufficient fuel. If the fuel concentration is higher than 15 percent, it cannot burn because there is insufficient oxygen. For LNG to burn, it must be released, vaporize, mix with air in the flammable ratio, and be exposed to an ignition source.”

“It should also be noted that LNG vapors do not catch fire as easily as those of other common fuels such as gasoline or propane, and LNG vapors dissipate more easily, meaning that potential hazards can persist longer for other fuels than for LNG.”

Environmental

National Energy Technology Laboratory: Study on the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from the United States


The U.S Department of Energy released a study conducted by the National Energy Technology Laboratory which found that U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe and Asia would significantly reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While it was previously known that increased natural gas usage could help the U.S. reduce its own GHG emissions, it is now also clear that exports of U.S. LNG can help reduce global emissions.

Study Methodology

The analysis calculates and compares the life cycle GHG emissions for imported natural gas power in Europe and Asia versus regional coal power. The analysis is a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment that begins with extraction of natural gas or coal and ends with electricity delivered to the consumer. The results include GHG emissions for both imported natural gas and regional coal using the global warming potentials of each from the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The study models these four scenarios for two different geographies, Europe and Asia:

“Scenario 1: Natural gas is extracted in the U.S. from the Marcellus Shale, transported by pipeline to an LNG facility where it is compressed and loaded onto an LNG tanker, transported to an LNG port in the receiving country (Rotterdam for the European case and Shanghai for the Asian case) where it is re-gasified, and then transported to a natural gas power plant. It was assumed that the power plant is located near the LNG import site.

“Scenario 2: This is the same as Scenario 1, except that the natural gas comes from a regional source relative to the destination. In the European case, the source is Algeria, and in the Asian case, the source is Australia. It was assumed that the regional gas is produced using conventional extraction methods. The LNG tanker transport distance is adjusted accordingly.

“Scenario 3: Natural gas is produced in the Siberian region of Russia utilizing conventional extraction methods and is transported by pipeline to a power plant in Europe or Asia.

“Scenario 4: Coal is extracted in the region of study (Europe or Asia) and transported by rail to a domestic coal-fired power plant in China or Germany. This analysis models both surface sub-bituminous and underground bituminous coals based on U.S. extraction data.”

Key Results

-For most scenarios in both the European and Asian regions, the generation of power from imported natural gas has lower life cycle GHG emissions than power generation from regional coal.

-On a 100-year basis, imported LNG used for power generation produces 25 to 61 percent less life cycle GHG emissions than coal for Europe. In Asia, imported LNG used for power generation produces 18 to 59 percent less life cycle GHG emissions than coal.

-On a 20-year basis, there is high potential for imported LNG in Europe and Asia to have lower life cycle GHG emissions than regional coal – up to 57 percent less with LNG.

-The analysis determined that the use of U.S. LNG exports for power production in European and Asian markets will not increase life cycle GHG emissions when compared to regional coal extraction and consumption for power production.

LNG and Coal Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions


PACE Global

“Existing coal technology for the five LNG export markets analyzed in this study was found to produce approximately 117 percent to 194 percent more emissions on a life cycle basis than the least emissions-intensive case (Low GHG Case) for LNG (1.071 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the installed coal power plant case in Germany compared to 0.494 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the Low GHG German LNG case; and 1.499 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the installed coal power plant case in China compared to 0.510 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the Low GHG China LNG case).”

National Energy Technology Laboratory Study on the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from the United States

National Energy Technology Laboratory

Download (PDF, Unknown)


The U.S Department of Energy released a study conducted by the National Energy Technology Laboratory which found that U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe and Asia would significantly reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While it was previously known that increased natural gas usage could help the U.S. reduce its own GHG emissions, it is now also clear that exports of U.S. LNG can help reduce global emissions.

Study Methodology

The analysis calculates and compares the life cycle GHG emissions for imported natural gas power in Europe and Asia versus regional coal power. The analysis is a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment that begins with extraction of natural gas or coal and ends with electricity delivered to the consumer. The results include GHG emissions for both imported natural gas and regional coal using the global warming potentials of each from the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The study models these four scenarios for two different geographies, Europe and Asia:

“Scenario 1: Natural gas is extracted in the U.S. from the Marcellus Shale, transported by pipeline to an LNG facility where it is compressed and loaded onto an LNG tanker, transported to an LNG port in the receiving country (Rotterdam for the European case and Shanghai for the Asian case) where it is re-gasified, and then transported to a natural gas power plant. It was assumed that the power plant is located near the LNG import site.
“Scenario 2: This is the same as Scenario 1, except that the natural gas comes from a regional source relative to the destination. In the European case, the source is Algeria, and in the Asian case, the source is Australia. It was assumed that the regional gas is produced using conventional extraction methods. The LNG tanker transport distance is adjusted accordingly.
“Scenario 3: Natural gas is produced in the Siberian region of Russia utilizing conventional extraction methods and is transported by pipeline to a power plant in Europe or Asia.
“Scenario 4: Coal is extracted in the region of study (Europe or Asia) and transported by rail to a domestic coal-fired power plant in China or Germany. This analysis models both surface sub-bituminous and underground bituminous coals based on U.S. extraction data.”

Key Results

For most scenarios in both the European and Asian regions, the generation of power from imported natural gas has lower life cycle GHG emissions than power generation from regional coal.
On a 100-year basis, imported LNG used for power generation produces 25 to 61 percent less life cycle GHG emissions than coal for Europe. In Asia, imported LNG used for power generation produces 18 to 59 percent less life cycle GHG emissions than coal.
On a 20-year basis, there is high potential for imported LNG in Europe and Asia to have lower life cycle GHG emissions than regional coal – up to 57 percent less with LNG.
The analysis determined that the use of U.S. LNG exports for power production in European and Asian markets will not increase life cycle GHG emissions when compared to regional coal extraction and consumption for power production.

America’s Energy Resurgence: Sustaining Success, Confronting Challenges

Bipartisan Policy Center

“Recommendation: Restricting international trade in fossil fuels is not an effective policy to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions or to advance domestic economic interests, and we recommend against any such restrictions.”

Economic

DOE: Macroeconomic Outcomes of Market Determined Levels of U.S. LNG Exports


“For everyone of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased. In particular, scenarios with unlimited exports always had higher net economic benefits than corresponding cases with limited exports. (DOE report, p. 1)

“The net result is an increase in U.S. households’ real income and welfare.” (DOE report, p. 6)

“Natural gas price changes attributable to LNG exports remain in a relatively narrow range across the entire range of scenarios.” (DOE report, p. 2)

To learn more about the report, check out our one pager summary of the document.

Check out the full report below.

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Impact of LNG Exports on the U.S. Economy: A Brief Update

ICF

“U.S. LNG exports support between 220,000 and 452,000 additional jobs.”

“U.S. LNG exports will add between $50 billion and $73 billion to the U.S. economy by 2040.”

The full study can be found here.

The Macroeconomic Impact of Increasing U.S. LNG Exports

U.S. Department of Energy

“Rising liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports are associated with a net increase in domestic natural gas production…The overall macroeconomic impacts of higher LNG exports are marginally positive, a result that is robust to alternative assumptions for the U.S. natural gas market.”

Effect of Increased Levels of Liquefied Natural Gas Exports on U.S. Energy Markets

U.S. Energy Information Administration

“Added U.S. LNG exports result in higher levels of economic output, as measured by real gross domestic product as (GDP). Increased energy production spurs investment, which more than offsets the adverse impact of somewhat higher energy prices when the export scenarios are applied. Economic gains, measured as changes in the level of GDP relative to baseline, range from 0.05% to 0.17% and generally increase with the amount of added LNG exports required to fulfill an export scenario for the applicable baseline.”

Updated Macroeconomic Impacts of LNG Exports from the United States

NERA Economic Consulting

“In all of the scenarios analyzed in this study, NERA found that the U.S. would experience net
economic benefits from increased LNG exports…Depending on the study, construction of 1 Bcf/d of capacity will provide between 2,500 and 4,000 job-years of direct employment over the 48-month construction period…In addition to these on-site jobs, manufacturing of machinery and equipment for the LNG plant, including compressors, pipes, and compressor vessels, will also provide employment, and exploration and production for natural gas will need additional workers over the life of the facility to support the required net increase in U.S. natural gas production.”

The Benefits of Natural Gas Production and Exports for U.S. Small Businesses

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

“Expanded demand for U.S. natural gas internationally will be a net positive, resulting in greater U.S. natural gas production, increased investment, enhanced GDP growth, rising incomes, and more jobs…. Looking ahead, the opportunity exists for exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG), given the large differential in natural gas prices in the U.S. versus elsewhere in the world, and rising global demand. Unfortunately, though, there is a movement afoot to have government limit LNG exports, based on the unfounded fear that LNG exports will dramatically drive up domestic natural gas prices.”

U.S. LNG Exports: Impacts on Energy Markets and the Economy

ICF International

“The net effects on U.S. employment from LNG exports are projected to be positive with average net job
growth of 73,100 to 452,300 between 2016 and 2035, including all economic multiplier effects…. The net effect on annual U.S. GDP of LNG exports is expected to be positive at about $15.6 to $73.6 billion annually between 2016 and 2035, depending on LNG export case and GDP multiplier effect. This includes the impacts of additional hydrocarbon liquids that would be produced along with the natural gas, greater petrochemical (olefins) production using more abundant natural gas liquids feedstock, and all economic multiplier effects.”

Macroeconomic Impacts of LNG Exports from the United States

U.S. Department of Energy

“[F]or every one of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased. In particular, scenarios with unlimited exports always had higher net economic benefits than corresponding cases with limited exports.”

Natural Gas in the U.S. Economy: Opportunities for Growth

Congressional Research Service

“Exports of energy-related resources have not been a big part of U.S. trade so increasing them would likely improve the overall U.S. trade balance. Nevertheless, the rise in U.S. natural gas production has already benefitted the U.S. trade position by dramatically decreasing imports, the other component of the trade balance. Increasing U.S. LNG exports would also expand the role of the United States in international natural gas markets. Asian countries, in particular, and some European countries have called for more U.S. LNG exports.”

Liquid Markets: Assessing the Case for U.S. Exports of Liquefied Natural Gas

Brookings Institution

“Exports of U.S. natural gas will take advantage of the benefits of the existing producer’s surplus resulting from the pricing differentials between the natural gas markets in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Contractual terms will determine how this surplus is shared between U.S. sellers and foreign buyers. The benefit of this trade will likely outweigh the cost to domestic consumers of the increase in the price of natural gas as most of the natural gas demanded by exports will come from new natural gas production as opposed to displacing existing production from domestic consumers.”

Geopolitical

American Gas to the Rescue? The Impact of US LNG Exports on European Security and Russian Foreign Policy

Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy

“(T)he additional global gas supply that has resulted from the US shale boom has strengthened Europe’s bargaining position with Russian suppliers. US LNG export terminals already approved and under development will continue to improve that negotiating power and provide the region with more supply options. Additional LNG terminals, were they to be approved, financed and constructed, would have an even greater effect.”

The Geopolitical Implications of U.S. Natural Gas Exports

American Security Project

“Allowing American LNG to reach world markets will enhance the energy security of our allies, providing geopolitical benefits to the U.S.”