What is LNG?

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is the liquid form of the same clean and safe natural gas used in homes every day for heating, cooling and cooking. Natural gas is also the primary source of fuel for many U.S. industries and for the generation of electricity.

When converted to its liquid form, natural gas occupies only about one 600th of the space it does in its gas form, allowing LNG to be easily stored in tanks or pumped into ships and transported overseas. As a result, LNG offers a cost-effective method for transporting natural gas over long distances and provides consumers across the globe with access to vast natural gas resources.

To transform natural gas into LNG, LNG trains cool the gas to a temperature of minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting LNG is colorless, odorless, non-corrosive and non-toxic. It can be stored in tanks, loaded onto LNG carriers and distributed to global markets for use in homes, businesses and power plants.

When a receiving terminal accepts LNG, it warms the liquefied gas to around 30 degrees to regasify it in preparation for transportation to consumers by pipeline.

LNG History

For more than 50 years, the LNG industry has been safely producing, transporting, receiving and regasifying LNG around the world, making LNG a significant supply source for many countries. Since the first LNG ship arrived in Europe in 1964, the LNG industry has been steadily growing, driven by rising natural gas demand in countries where domestic production cannot cover local needs.

Initially, Asia and Africa produced the majority of LNG and, more recently, the Middle East and Trinidad have contributed to LNG production. Recent technological advancements have positioned the United States to become a large contributor to global LNG exports. In 2006, Qatar became the largest LNG producer in the world. The largest consuming regions for LNG include Asia and Europe.

For more information about LNG, visit the Center for LNG.