The revolution produced by the new 'world gas market' which now joins the already established oil market originates from the new technologies developed for the production, liquefaction, transport, regasification and, finally, marketing of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Once extracted, the natural gas undergoes treatment to remove water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and other impurities. It is then pumped through underground or underwater pipelines to liquefaction terminals. These are traditionally found on the seashore, near docks for transport by ship, but the first fully FLNG floating plants which are similar to the FPSO used for oil but with all the necessary infrastructure for liquefaction and storage on board, are already in production.
Liquefaction is the first key process. The gas is progressively cooled down to below -161.4 °C, at which point the gas undergoes a change of physical state and transforms into liquid form. This allows as much as 620-630 m3 of natural gas to be compacted into a single cubic metre. The process takes place in liquefaction plants consisting of one or more lines (trains) of equal capacity that operate simultaneously, each comprising the pre-cooling, extraction and fractionation sections of heavy component residues, liquefaction and storage in large tanks equipped with an efficient thermal insulation system that allows the stored gas to be kept below its evaporation temperature indefinitely.
When stocking, pressure resistance is not an issue as generally these tanks are tested to withstand pressures of a few tens of atmospheres (Bar). By comparison, those containing natural gas in a gaseous state and at ambient temperature, for example in vehicles, are designed for operating pressures of more than 200-300 Bar. The critical factor for LNG is efficient thermal insulation. Tanks are built to maintain a temperature and pressure range from around -160°C at 1 Bar to -110°C at 20 Bar. This is why it is economically advantageous for cryogenic tanks to be spherical and as large as possible, thus minimising the heat exchange surface area in relation to the tank volume.
The LNG is then pumped aboard special LNG carriers equipped with similar tanks and cryogenic systems to maintain the necessary thermal insulation throughout the subsequent journey.
Once the LNG carrier has reached its destination, the gas which is still liquefied, is transferred from the ship to a storage tank inside the rigasifier, where it maintains the same physical conditions as during transportation. The latter, the second key element of the technology, is an industrial plant that allows the product to be returned from the liquid state kept during transportation at sea to the gaseous state, more suitable for transportation over land and for its final consumption. Regasification plants can be built on land (on onshore structures), or on the high seas (offshore), or on special floating terminals anchored to the seabed known as 'Floating Storage and Regasification Units' (FSRU), such as the Tuscany Offshore LNG plant off Livorno, which was activated in 2013 or the Golar Tundra recently located in the port of Piombino, in the neighborhood of Livorno.
The natural gas liquefaction regasification infrastructure
There are also real artificial islands (GBS, Gravity Based Structure), such as the Adriatic LNG Terminal off Porto Viro in the province of Rovigo, which has been active since 2009.
Onshore plants are normally built at port facilities in order to benefit from the necessary technical and logistical support. For safety reasons, they are often excluded from the harbour basin, and are located on jetties in the open sea. In Italy, the first structure of this kind which was designed and built in the late 1960s and has been active since the early 1970s, is located in Panigaglia in the province of La Spezia.
Inside the regasifier, the LNG is sent to a vaporiser which, by raising its temperature, causes a reverse state change as the gas expands and returns to its natural physical state. The temperature change usually occurs through heat exchange between liquid gas and seawater in shell-and-tube heat exchangers, which gives up its heat to the gas; the pressure, on the other hand, is reduced through the expansion of the gas in special tanks. At this point, the gas can be fed into the national distribution network.
Regasifiers can be combined with plants using low temperatures (e.g. food freezing plants), thus recycling cooling energy with obvious energy savings. Furthermore, cold water leaving a regasifier can be exploited as a cold source in an energy production plant that exploits the thermodynamic gradient with respect to the temperature of the surrounding water. In Italy, the Department of Energy and Environmental Research at the University of Palermo is studying these possible applications.
THIS WEBSITE (AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN) DOES NOT CONTAIN OR CONSTITUTE AN OFFER OF SECURITIES FOR SALE, OR SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO PURCHASE SECURITIES OR IS NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN OR INTO THE UNITED STATES (INCLUDING ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS, ANY STATE OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA) OR FOR THE ACCOUNT OR BENEFIT OF ANY U.S. PERSON AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN THE SECURITIES ACT (A "U.S. PERSON"), AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN OR SOUTH AFRICA OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION WHERE SUCH AN OFFER OR SOLICITATION WOULD REQUIRE THE APPROVAL OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES OR OTHERWISE BE UNLAWFUL (THE "OTHER COUNTRIES"). THE SECURITIES REFERRED TO HEREIN HAVE NOT BEEN AND WILL NOT BE REGISTERED UNDER THE U.S. SECURITIES ACT OF 1933, AS AMENDED (THE "SECURITIES ACT"), OR PURSUANT TO THE CORRESPONDING REGULATIONS IN FORCE IN AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN, SOUTH AFRICA OR THE “OTHER COUNTRIES” AND MAY NOT BE OFFERED OR SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES OR TO A U.S. PERSON UNLESS THE SECURITIES ARE REGISTERED UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT, OR AN EXEMPTION FROM THE REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS OF THE SECURITIES ACT IS AVAILABLE. NO PUBLIC OFFERING OF SUCH SECURITIES IS INTENDED TO BE MADE IN THE UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN OR IN THE “OTHER COUNTRIES.”
In any Member State of the European Economic Area ("EEA"), the information contained in this website is only directed at and may only be communicated to persons who are "qualified investors" ("Qualified Investors") within the meaning of Article 2(e) of Regulation (EU) 2017/1129 (the "Prospectus Regulation").
The information to which this website gives access is directed only at persons (i) who are persons falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) ("high net worth companies, unincorporated associations etc.") of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the "Order") or (ii) who have professional experience in matters relating to investments falling within Article 19(5) of the Order or (iii) to whom it may otherwise lawfully be communicated (all such persons together being referred to as "relevant persons"). Any investment or investment activity to which this communication relates is only available to relevant persons and will be engaged in only with relevant persons, or in the EEA, with Qualified Investors. Any person who is not a relevant person, a Qualified Investor or otherwise permitted under applicable law or regulation to access the information, should not act or rely on the information contained herein.
Confirmation of Understanding and Acceptance of Disclaimer
These materials are for informational purposes only and are not directed to, nor are they intended for, access by persons located or resident in the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan or South Africa or any of the Other Countries. I certify that:
I am not resident of, or located in, the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan or South Africa or any of the Other Countries or I am not a U.S. Person; or
If I am a resident of, or located in, the EEA, I am a Qualified Investor within the meaning of Article 2(e) of the Prospectus Regulation; or
If I am a resident of, or located in, the United Kingdom, I am a Qualified Investor and a relevant person.
I have read and understood the disclaimer set out above. I understand that it may affect my rights. I agree to be bound by its terms and I am permitted under applicable law and regulations to proceed to the following parts of this website.
WARNING: the above certification constitutes a "self-certification" pursuant to Decree of the President of the Italian Republic No. 445 of 28 December 2000. False certifications are punishable by law.
You must read the following information before continuing.
The information contained in this segment of the website is not intended for, and must not be accessed or distributed or disseminated to persons resident or physically present in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan or any other jurisdiction in which it is unlawful to do so. The information also is not intended for, and must not be accessed or distributed or disseminated to persons resident or physically present in Italy who are not “qualified investors” (investitori qualificati), as defined in Article 2, letter e) of Regulation (EU) 2017/1129 (the “Prospectus Regulation”) pursuant to Article 1, fourth paragraph, letter a) of the Prospectus Regulation as implemented in Italy by Article 35, paragraph 1, letter d) of CONSOB regulation No. 20307 of February 15, 2018.
By clicking the button below labeled “I agree”, you are certifying that (A) if you are in the European Economic Area, you are a “Qualified Investor”; (B) you are not accessing this portion of the website from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada or Japan; (C) if you are a resident or physically present in Italy, you are a qualified investor as defined under the Prospectus Regulation as implemented in Italy by Article 35, paragraph 1, letter d) of CONSOB regulation No. 20307 of February 15, 2018; and (D) you are not located in a jurisdiction where it is unlawful to access this portion of the website.
You acknowledge that the information and statements contained in the document you are accessing on this website speak only as of the date of such document (or such other date(s) specified therein), and such information and statements may become inaccurate, stale and/or out-of-date thereafter and should not be relied upon for any investment decision.
You acknowledge that the materials on this website that you are accessing are confidential and intended only for you and you agree you will not forward, reproduce, copy, download or publish any of such materials (electronically or otherwise) to any other person if this is not in accordance with the law.
You acknowledge that the access to information and documents contained on this portion of the website may be illegal in certain jurisdictions, and only certain categories of persons may be authorized to access this portion of the website. If you are not authorized to access the information and document contained on this portion of the website or you are not sure that you are permitted to view these materials, you should leave this portion of the website.
You acknowledge that no registration or approval has been obtained and Eni Gas e Luce S.p.A. società benefit and its affiliates assume no responsibility if there is a violation of applicable law and regulation by any person.
By clicking the button below labeled “I agree”, you are confirming that you have read and understood the disclaimer above.
If you cannot so confirm, you must exit this portion of the website