Providing Advantaged Alternatives
A highly secure and lower cost alternative to the conventional LNG receiving terminal has been introduced by Conversion Gas Imports, L.P. (CGI). CGI has met the LNG receiving and storage need by developing a unique high capacity, energy efficient heat exchanger and utilizing salt caverns to completely eliminate the cryogenic liquid tanks found at conventional LNG receiving terminals. These two concepts enable the development of LNG receiving and storage facilities that are faster and less expensive to build, have higher storage and take away capability and have far greater physical security than tank based terminals.
Looking To The Future
LNG is all about monetizing gas reserves. The liquefaction process is a convenient method of gathering and transporting the gas molecules from the field to the market. Over the past 35 years, we have believed that LNG must move from a storage tank at the liquefaction facility to a storage tank at the receiving facility. It works well, it’s safe, accepted, and no longer presents any unique technical challenge. But siting, security, and economic issues are forcing us to rethink this method.
The Bishop Process
The CGI “Bishop Process” terminal will profoundly impact the next generation of LNG receiving terminals. Rather than receiving and storing liquid natural gas until such time that it is vaporized and delivered to the customer, CGI’s terminals are designed to receive LNG directly from the tanker, pump the liquid stream to cavern injection pressures, warm it to salt compatible temperatures, and inject the warmed dense phase natural gas into salt caverns for storage. There are no vaporizer send-out limitations associated with cavern storage. The caverns can receive flow from a ship and redeliver to a pipeline grid at rates greater than 3 Bcfd. LNG vessels are offloaded at rates comparable to the unloading rates at convention liquid tank based terminals.
Safe, Secure and Available
Salt locations suitable for storage in proximity to significant natural gas distribution systems have been found both onshore and offshore many LNG importing areas of the world. The least impact on the community, and the most physically secure facility would be one in which the LNG ship mooring and unloading and the cavern storage and pipeline connections would all be at sea. A conceptual analysis and site recommendations for both an onshore and offshore terminal are being developed by CGI under the US Department of Energy research project.