If you had to take a guess, could you say how far the LNG industry dates back? We’ve had quite a history with the industry ourselves, but it far out dates our start – we just celebrated our 25th anniversary!
So when did the LNG industry get its start, and what has been its journey over the years? We’ll cover that and more in this article.
What is the LNG Industry?
LNG stands for liquefied natural gas. Natural gas is converted into LNG through the liquefaction process – the gas is cooled to -260 degrees F until it is changed from a gas to a liquid. The volume is 600 times smaller for liquid gas than natural gas!
The end result is a product that can be shipped safely and efficiently, especially when pipelines aren’t an option. LNG is great for transport across oceans, for example. Once the liquefied natural gas arrives at its destination, it can be converted back into a gaseous state at an LNG import terminal.
The History of the LNG Industry
The history and background of the LNG industry actually dates back to the 17th century! Physicists and chemists were looking into the relationship between gasses, volume, and pressure even back then.
Here’s a quick look at just some of the important dates in the history of liquefied natural gas in the United States and how it came to be the industry it is today:
- 1886: Methane was liquefied.
- 1900: All of the gasses, excluding helium, would have been liquefied.
- 1908: Helium was liquefied.
- 1915: A method for storing liquid gasses was patented.
- 1918: The first large-scale use of LNG was recorded. The United States government liquefied natural gas to get helium for British dirigibles during the first World War.
- 1937: Patents for large-scale liquefaction were delivered.
- 1940: The first full-scale commercial LNG plant was built by East Ohio Gas in Cleveland, Ohio.
- 1944: The industry faced a setback when the plant failed. Thousands of gallons of LNG escaped from the plant, and 130 people died. Research was conducted for 15 years to try to set the industry back on track.
- 1959: The first LNG carrier, known as the Methane Pioneer (a former World War II Liberty ship), left from Lake Charles, Louisiana. It was destined for Canvey Island in the United Kingdom.
- 1964: The Methane Princess became the first carrier designed for LNG.
- 1965: New LNG plants were built in the United States until the 1970s.
- 1969: The first LNG exported from the United States. While most internet searches bring up 2016 as the year for the first LNG exports from the US, it is only the first from the lower 48 states of the US. The accomplishment seems to be overlooked as the plant was very small in comparison to the plants that started operation to 2016. It was exported from the Phillips 66 Kenai Alaska plant to Japan. The first delivery of LNG was received in Tokyo on November 6th, 1969. The hyperlinks above document the history.
- 1970s: Due to the energy crisis, the United States could no longer solely rely on the natural gas in the region and imported LNG from Algeria.
- 2016: The first LNG export from the US’s lower 48 states was completed. After an increase in gas production due to hydraulic fracturing, export was a possibility.
Today, there are three global gas markets, including the North American/Atlantic Basin, Asia-Pacific, and European regions. Here are some other interesting facts about the industry and its history:
- The largest LNG importer in the world is Japan. South Korea and Taiwan come 2nd and 3rd.
- The Pacific region tends to be the largest market when it comes to LNG.
- More and more European countries have recently constructed or are starting to develop import terminals.
- It’s thought that China and India may become bigger buyers of LNG in coming years.
Our History in the LNG Industry
Although the history of the entire industry dates back hundreds of years, we’ve been deeply involved in LNG projects ourselves! For more than 25 years, Shea Writing and Training Solutions has worked with companies on documentation development in the industry.
The industry is growing at a rapid pace, and we’re working with the companies and organizations involved with LNG to develop solutions that help them keep up with demand. Quality technical writing services are a must for newly constructed facilities to ensure you’re not only meeting your company’s goals, but also meeting restrictions and requirements set forth by the government.
If you’re constructing a new LNG facility, it’s essential to develop content for your operations procedures, training materials, mechanical documentation, and other required documents as soon as possible. Starting operations without those in hand will be a challenge, and could result in confusion, loss of business, and even fines. Working with us ensures you don’t have the added stress of finding time to develop content for your team in your busy schedule. We work with you to create the materials you need to run your entire organization smoothly and efficiently, with productivity and safety always top of mind. Curious about what we can offer your company? Start here.