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Training course on Energy Transition Projects

Published 23.3.2023

Over 300 people from Techint Engineering & Construction attended a training day on LNG and NGL, organized by the company’s Energy Transition team as we gear up to face new challenges. 

Over 300 employees from Spain and Argentina attended a training day on to share the latest knowledge and experiences about Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and Natural Gas Liquids (NGL), which are key to the energy transition agenda.

The speakers were Hernan Milberg, the Techint E&C Energy Transition Manager, Pablo Spesso, Head of Process Design, and Soledad Calcagno, Head of Project Engineering. They took a deep dive into topics such as the definition and characteristics of LNG, the value chain, the world LNG market, the principal gas and NGL treatment and liquefaction processes.

“Liquid natural gas is the fuel powering the energy transition, and consequently, world demand for this product is rising, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Within this global framework, Argentina has the extraordinary potential to monetize Vaca Muerta gas, and experts are currently studying several LNG projects in the country. It is against this backdrop that we anticipate the need to share our knowledge about these issues throughout Techint E&C so that we can prepare for the challenges of the new projects being planned in the region,” commented Milberg.

Some interesting facts about LNG and NGL:

What is LNG? Natural gas that has been cooled and processed to be transported in liquid form

Natural gas is subjected to a liquefaction process and cooled down to a temperature of approximately -162°C at atmospheric pressure, resulting in a 600-fold reduction in its volume. This means that large volumes of gas can be transported in special tankers.

LNG properties: it can be stored at atmospheric pressure, it’s lighter than water, odorless and colorless.

What is NGL? Liquids that are separated from natural gas: e.g., propane, butane, and gasoline

The process is designed to clean raw natural gas by separating impurities to produce dry natural gas. When natural gas arrives in its raw form at a processing plant, it is separated from natural gas liquids, the liquid hydrocarbons such as methane, ethane, propane, butane and gasoline, through a cooling or cryogenic distillation process. This happens in the Expander Gas Plant, where the heavier elements condense to constitute the liquid portion of the gas. The process is completed through  a series of special heat exchangers which achieve greater efficiency. The NGL then passes through the fractionation system where it is separated into commercial products such as propane, butane and gasoline, whose commercial value is higher than natural gas. In some cases, ethane may also be extracted if there is a potential market to justify the investment required to obtain it.

How is the liquefaction of natural gas achieved? Through refrigeration cycles reaching temperatures that are lower than those of natural gas

The natural gas entering the liquefaction plant is treated in processing units to remove the compounds which need to be extracted from the gas before it reaches the cryogenic units. Once it has been treated, it comes into contact with the cold refrigerant in special heat exchangers used for these processes. The coolant circulates in a cycle from compression and cooling to decompression and heating. It is during this last step that the coolant is exposed to the heat of the natural gas to be liquefied.

Value chain: From gas field to households

Broadly speaking, natural gas processing follows these steps from its extraction in the field to its distribution to customers:

Extraction of natural gas from the field.

Liquefaction: gas cooling to -162°C.

Tanker loading and unloading.

Sea transport of LNG in special tanks.

Regasification: returning the gas to its original gaseous state.

LNG is loaded into tanker trucks.

Underground storage of NG in existing geological structures.

Transport of NG through a high-pressure pipeline network.

Distribution to customers.

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