The demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) has rapidly increased, primarily due to substantial price disparities between diesel fuel and low-priced natural gas, especially given the expanding development of global shale gas and the increased penalties for flaring.
Typical LNG facilities are large, permanent facilities that process tens of millions of gallons a day. Most are located in coastal areas producing LNG for export in vast quantities, while smaller LNG facilities are used for ‘gas peaking’ service (i.e., where natural gas is converted to LNG and stored during warmer weather when gas is typically cheaper and is later vaporized back into natural gas to meet demand when colder weather strikes or gas prices spike).
But what if the distance between the natural gas source and the LNG facility is far and transport too expensive? Or what if there is no infrastructure for transporting the gas to the point of use?
Michael Walhof, Sales Director for Distributed LNG Solutions for Siemens’ Dresser-Rand business, and his team developed the LNGo natural gas liquefaction system to answer this challenge: “We created a distributed LNG solution that allows our customers to take advantage of their local natural gas sources, thereby reducing transportation costs and lowering delivered LNG prices. Our goal is to open markets and demand that would likely not be cost-effectively served by distant LNG sources.”
The LNGo system uses a combination of Dresser-Rand and Siemens’ technologies in a small-footprint package that can be placed on well pads and in proximity to gas flares, pipelines and similar sites. The system allows for small stand-alone plants that are modular and can be relocated to support changing requirements and needs. The LNGo system is sized to produce approximately 30,000 gallons of LNG per day. The modular design of the system allows for production modules to be added as demand for LNG grows.
Our LNGo solution is proven technology, has a small footprint, is quickly installed and is scalable to meet changing demand.Michael Walhof
In 2016, the Dresser-Rand business commissioned its first LNGo micro-scale natural gas liquefaction system at the Ten Man LNG facility in Pennsylvania, U.S. Here, the LNGo technology enables the operator, Frontier Natural Resources, to monetize stranded gas assets at Tenaska Resources LLC's Mainesburg field, located in the Marcellus shale natural gas field.
Walhof wants to add to recent successes and his team is already realizing the next projects: “For example this year, we commissioned our first LNGo-HP (high-pressure) system for Altagas Ltd. in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada. The modular, expandable LNGo technology enables efficient installation in demanding environments like Dawson Creek.”
The Dawson Creek facility, with a capacity of approximately 30,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per day, commenced production on January 25, 2018. The plant, with a footprint of roughly 2,500 square meters, was deployed directly at the site. There it helps debottleneck existing gathering systems and pipelines where the produced LNG can then be transported via virtual pipeline to locations where it is needed.
The LNGo system is attractive to customers because it’s flexible. In addition to midstream applications, it can be used in upstream and downstream sectors as well.
The scalability of the LNGo system enables customers to right-size production in line with demand and minimizes capital expenditures. Customers get a standardized solution that is adapted specifically to their project needs and goals – whether it’s a harsh, frigid environment like Dawson Creek or the African desert.
Walhof knows why companies are coming to Siemens when they think about monetizing stranded gas: “Our LNGo solution is proven technology, has a small footprint, is quickly installed and is scalable to meet changing demand. The LNGo plant can function as a decentralized solution where the requisite pipeline infrastructure is lacking, or as an onsite solution to reduce or eliminate flaring of petroleum gas at, for example, oil rigs or producing gas fields.”
Altagas chose the LNGo solution because it’s deployable in rough terrain or remote regions like Dawson Creek, and eliminates the need to establish an expensive gas pipeline infrastructure. The LNG produced in Dawson Creek, for example, is trucked nearly 900 miles where the consumer is converting from diesel to natural gas for power generation. The result is a smaller carbon footprint, lower operational cost and market price stability.
Further, the short delivery time on LNGo plants and its re-deployable feature offers flexibility and quick returns compared to large facilities that require significant capital investments and are permanently placed and not re-deployable.
Besides the flexibility of its product, Siemens is chosen for its stability, reputation and expertise. “Customers know that we’ll be here to service the equipment throughout its lifetime and they’re confident in the quality and reputation associated with Siemens’ brand. Further to this, we offer customers the entire solution – from engineering and design to manufacture to starting the plant up on-site,” Walhof proudly adds.
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