Shell to bring two LNG plants online by 2016

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Monday, March 11, 2013

Shell will build two plants dedicated to supplying liquefied natural gas for heavy truck and transport shipping use.

Shell, one of the largest gas producers in the U.S., will build the facilities in Geismar, LA, along the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge, and in Sarnia, Ontario, on the southern shore of Lake Huron just east of Michigan.

The company says each plant will be able to produce 250,000 tons per year of LNG, roughly 400,000 gallons per day, according to spokeswoman Destin Singleton.

From our perspective, it’s important that there is production specific for transport, and that it’s dedicated production,” she told Land Line. “Pending regulatory approvals, they will be producing in about three years. In the meantime LNG could be supplied to our customers from third-party agreements.”

Because the plants are being developed at existing manufacturing sites, Singleton said environmental impact studies were not required.

Natural gas is used as a transportation fuel in some parts of the world, mostly for fleets of vehicles like buses and garbage trucks which use centralized refueling stations. Compressed natural gas is more widely used than LNG, but LNG has proved to be effective for very large trucks that drive great distances.

The process of making LNG involves chilling natural gas to negative 260 degrees so it can be compressed into a liquid and stored in high-pressure insulated tanks. The liquefied form of the fuel can then be loaded onto tankers for transport, where it is shipped to a local processing plant, thawed out to return to its naturally gaseous state, and injected into the local supply.

The facilities are expected to take about three years to complete. Singleton said the company does not disclose the cost of its capital expenditures.

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