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Mini LNG - Is This the Future of the Industry.

by Steven Randall


The current LNG industry worldwide has for most of it's relatively short life, been developed around the concept of build huge gas extraction systems to draw gas from the underground or undersea reserves, and use giant high pressure " freezers " ....

..to cool the gas to - 170 degrees Celcius and then ship it around the world to the relevant buyers. These are usually big national or international power generating companies who operate very large thermal power plants, and the natural gas is then taken in it's chilled liquid form, regasified, and used in the normal way to fire turbines or steam generators.

This industry was birthed in the 1940s and in the early 1960s the first purpose built LNG carrier (the Methane Princess) lifted her first commercial cargo to Great Britain. Today, there are around 140 -150 purpose built LNG carriers...

.. that safely and efficiently carry 2-300 million tons of LNG to multiple clients / countries and companies.

Theses plants are usually very large in size and scale, in order to achieve the scales of economy in producing 3- 10 million tons per year of LNG over a project's 20 - 40 life span. This project pictured here being built near Gladstone...

..cost the APLNG group over $30 Billion to complete; took three years and thousands of workers. It also required the owners to forward sell the bulk of their product to purchasers for some 15 - 20 years (guaranteed), in order to fund the construction of the massive plant, along with the extraction systems in the gas fields. But is this the only way to run the LNG industry; do we need huge facilities and mega financing abilities to utilize this very popular and cleaner fuel.

Some of the challenges facing the so called MEGA - LNG industry are....

Huge Size Projects... Even a modest size plant needs to produce 1 - 2 million tons a year of LNG to be viable, and these projects take several years (up to 12 in some cases) to prepare.

Enormous Finances... Such projects need huge capital expenditure, often needed 5- 10 international banks to support them (and the risks) to get off the ground.

Long Term Committed Markets... The product purchasers have to be companies that can afford to commit to 10 - 20 year contracts, and there are a multitude of markets, end users and groups of people and industries who can use the fuel, but NOT at 3 million tons a year for 20 years. So where do we go ???

There are many situations where countries and individual groups have no choice in power generation, but to use extremely expensive fossil fuels such as Diesel or even Heavy Marine Oil to power thermal power plants, resulting in severe restrictions on both residential and industrial power available in remote areas.

Indonesia for example, has over 1000 populated islands, many of which have little or no modern power capacity. Many Pacific Island nations ...


...have the same issue - expensive and polluting fuels and restricted capacities to move forward. Well, the Indonesians are looking at setting up a number of Mini LNG sites around the country....


Indonesia’s state energy company Pertamina, and the state power firm PLN plan to build 8 mini liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminals in eastern Indonesia, with a total capacity of 1.4 million tonnes a year. Mini LNG plants would be a solution for gas needed in the scattered islands of eastern Indonesia, where it would be difficult to construct a gas pipeline, and where small loads of 10 - 30,000 cubic meters of LNG could be shipped at a time. This would provide power to smaller populations and enable small scale industry to thrive on economical and cleaner fuels. The first phase of building aims for four terminals - two in east Kalimantan, one in Bali and one in southern Sulawesi, to receive LNG from the Bontang export LNG plant. These and several other planned small import terminals will remove several hundred thousand tons of CO2 every year from power generation, and save over A$100 million in fuel costs.

The Marianas are a group of 14 islands in the South West Pacific north east of Papua New Guinea. Tourism is the major industry in this island chain, and electricity can only be had through standard Diesel generation...

One of the options they have been looking at for the past two years is setting up a Mini LNG terminal on either Saipan or Tinian Island -both legends of the second world war.


 There are many island chains and remote areas around the world, including coastal regions of the African and Asian continents. Somewhere upwards of 300 million people live in such places, and the concept of Mini LNG will be a key factor in bringing economical and environmentally cleaner power to their communities and industries.

 For further information on this and other items, please contact Business Maps Australia on +61 455 296 533 or email to info@businessmaps.com.au .








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