What is LNG?
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to about -260°F for shipment and/or storage as a liquid. The volume of the liquid is about 600 times smaller than it is in gaseous form. In this compact form, natural gas can be shipped in special tankers to terminals in the United States and to other countries. At these terminals, the LNG is returned to a gaseous form and transported by pipeline to distribution companies, industrial consumers, and power plants.
Liquefying natural gas provides a means of moving natural gas long distances where pipeline transport is not feasible. Liquefying natural gas also provides access to natural gas from regions with vast production that are too distant from end-use markets to be connected by pipeline.
The United States imports and exports LNG. Sometimes LNG originally imported to the United States is re-exported to other destinations where prices are higher. In 2014, the United States imported about 59 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of LNG and exported 16 Bcf of LNG. The net imports of 43 Bcf of LNG contributed about 0.2% of total U.S. natural gas consumption in 2014. About 95% of LNG imports were from Trinidad and Tobago, Yemen, and Norway.
Because LNG is more energy dense than gaseous natural gas, there is increasing interest in using LNG in end-use applications like use as a fuel for heavy-duty vehicles and other transportation applications.