Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Exponent has broad experience with the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry and assists with engineering design reviews, third-party technology evaluation, research and development, and process hazard assessments associated with LNG facilities. LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to the liquid state at –260°F and atmospheric pressure. Liquefying natural gas reduces its volume by more than 600 times, making it more practical to store and transport. Facilities and equipment include liquefaction plants, ocean tankers (transport), pipelines, onshore and offshore terminals, and regasification plants. The strong demand for gas has led to numerous technological developments in all segments of this industry (liquefaction, marine transportation, and regasification). An example of this is the use of large arrays of ambient air vaporizers to regasify LNG without burning fuel or pumping large quantities of seawater.

Our capabilities include conducting inspections and safety audits, environmental impact studies, and consequence modeling, which involves computer modeling of fire radiation and vapor dispersion hazard zones. LNG has unique properties; if LNG is spilled, it vaporizes. The natural gas vapors are initially heavier than air, and they form a cloud close to the ground, which is pushed downwind and eventually dissipates. If a viable ignition source is present where a vapor cloud exists at a 5%–15% concentration in air, the vapor cloud can ignite and burn. Therefore, the permitting of LNG terminals requires thermal radiation and vapor dispersion hazard distances to be quantified and demonstrated to pose no threat to people or property outside the plant. This work has included numerous site-specific LNG vapor dispersion analyses using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. Exponent engineers have project experience with material selection and material performance issues (metals and concrete) that are unique to LNG and cryogenic applications. We also provide services in process safety management, construction management, and wetland restoration planning. Using this experience, we routinely assist our clients in solving performance-based design challenges and in providing technical support for regulatory applications.

To review our services in the area of LNG, please see our Practices and Industries page.

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