Essay paper on LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) in Europe

The Liquefied Natural Gas plays an important role in the industrial state of the country. But what is so necessary about this gas? What advantages does it have? I’ll try to highlight these questions in my review of the topic.

Let’s begin from the very beginning ”“ from history.

Natural gas liquefaction dates back to the 19th century, when British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday experimented with liquefying different types of gases, including natural gas.

The first liquefied natural gas plant was built in West Virginia in 1912. The LNG was stored in insulated tanks at atmospheric pressure there.

Liquefying natural gas made it possible to transport fuel to distant destinations. In January 1959, the world’s first LNG tanker, the Methane Pioneer carried liquefied natural gas from Lake Charles, La., to Canvey Island, United Kingdom. This voyage demonstrated that large quantities of liquefied natural gas could be transported safely across the ocean.

So, let’s focus our attention on Europe and ask ourselves: why is this question of current importance?

Rising oil and gas prices, Europe increased dependency on a few external suppliers (mainly OPEC and Russia) and the emergency of global warming have restarted the debate on the need for a European energy policy.

The idea was first suggested by the British Presidency in 2005 and agreed at the Hampton Court European summit (28 Oct 2005). The Ukraine-Russia gas dispute in January 2006 further highlighted Europe’s dependency on imports and on the shortcomings of keeping 25 separate policies with external energy suppliers.

The EU Commission’s debate on a future common European Energy Policy ended in the publication of a ‘Green Paper’ in March 2006. Suggestions include completing the opening of European gas and electricity markets and stepping up relations with major suppliers such as Russia and OPEC. Other key suggestions include boosting renewable energies, energy efficiency, and research on low-carbon technologies. However, EU member states have already made clear that they would not tolerate interference with national sovereignty, especially when it comes to making tough political choices such as opting for nuclear power.

One of the newly found LNG-producers is Norway.

Two large natural gas projects are devoted to Norway and will allow it to increase its natural gas supplies to Europe by 40 percent over the next two years. However, Norway will only be able to maintain large natural gas exports for the next 16 years. The increase is meant to help alleviate Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas supplies and give Europe time to find new energy options.

Norway, the eighth-largest natural gas exporter in the world, is on the verge of increasing its natural gas supplies to Europe, with two large projects soon to come on line: Snohvit in 2006 and Ormen Lange in 2007. The projects will allow Norway to increase its exports to Europe over the next two years from 85 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year to 120 billion bcm per year. Snohvit and Ormen Lange are non-North Sea projects and will be the main contributors to Norway’s increased exports.

However with the North Sea in rapid decline and no new large fields beyond Snohvit and Ormen Lange about to go online, Norway will not be able to maintain these increased natural gas exports forever.

Snohvit includes Europe’s first large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal with an initial capacity of 6 bcm a year and a potential expansion to 12 bcm a year. Built by Norway’s Petoro and state-controlled Statoil, France’s Total and Gaz de France, and Germany’s Amerada Hess Corp. and RWE, the project will combine production from the Snohvit, Albatross and Askeladd fields and connect by pipeline to an onshore receiving terminal at Hammerfest.

From there, the gas will be exported from the newly built Melkoya LNG facility. Destinations for the natural gas include the United States, Germany, Spain and France”¦

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