On extraction, natural gas is a mix of hydrocarbons, including methane, ethane and propane, and chemical compounds such as water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Once purified to remove these compounds, the gas is fed into the distribution network. Most gas reserves are a long way from the refineries and from where the gas will be consumed. It is transported via natural gas pipelines and, for longer distances, on LNG carriers. Efficient transport, storage and conservation of gas is fundamental as demand fluctuates due to climatic, productive and domestic factors.
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Transforming gas for transport
Gas is transported from production sites to consumer markets either on LNG carriers or via pipelines for distant and inaccessible places. This accounts for the price variations between different markets. To transport gas in this way, it must first be liquefied at very low temperatures (-160°) and then stored.
In its liquid state, the volume of the gas is reduced by up to 600 times, enabling transportation of large quantities. At the arrival terminals, the liquid gas is regasified before being fed into the distribution network, which enables it to reach consumer markets, large industrial consumers and local distribution networks – sometimes thousands of kilometres apart.
Given the significant investments required to build liquefaction and regasification plants, most of the LNG sold by gas producers must be under long-term contracts (20 years) before a final investment decision (FID) can be made. Eni has a global LNG portfolio of long-term purchase contracts with reliable suppliers, along with a worldwide network of end customers and traders.
LNG’s journey around the world
In October 2016, Eni and its partners from Area 4 in Mozambique signed an agreement with BP for the sale of all the LNG produced by Coral South in the country – around 3.3 million tonnes a year or 5 billion m3 – for more than 20 years.
The government of Mozambique has also approved development plans for the Rovuma LNG project to produce, liquefy and sell natural gas from three fields in the Mamba complex of Area 4. The project will enable up to 17,000 tonnes of LPG to be supplied to Mozambique every year, with significant benefits for the local community.
In June 2017, Eni delivered the first LNG produced at Jangkrik, in the deep waters of offshore Indonesia. More than 22,000 m3 set off from the liquefaction plant in Bontang, East Kalimantan, headed for Bali, where it was delivered under the long-term LNG supply contract agreed with PT Pertamina in June 2015.