Latest news on LNG and bio-LNG infrastructure projects in the pipeline
At the beginning of 2022, several LNG or bio-LNG projects are underway.
Bio-LNG production: the FirstBio2Shipping project
Started in December 2021, the FirstBio2Shipping project is an EU-funded project set for completion in 2023. The objective is to develop the first industrial plant capable of converting biogas into bio-liquefied natural gas (bio-LNG) in a standardised and scalable way, with minimal energy usage. The plant is located in the Netherlands. It will produce around 2,400 tonnes per year of bio-LNG for the marine industry.
Bio-LNG is produced by liquefying biomethane, which comes from renewable resources in the agriculture and waste sector. The innovation of the project lies in the direct integration of a new cryogenic liquefaction technology: the “iLNG” technology. This novel technology should produce high-quality contaminant-free bio-LNG with no methane slip (i.e. without releasing unburned methane). It is also expected to resolve other challenges commonly found in the small-scale LNG production, such as the high temperature demands in gas processing technologies and high costs for the disposal of wastewater and toxic chemical waste.
Bio-LNG can be used as a drop-in fuel in existing LNG engines and be handled in existing LNG infrastructure. The bio-LNG produced will reduce GHG emissions by 92% compared to a conventional maritime fuel, representing more than 87 500 tCO₂e of absolute net emissions avoided in the first ten years of operation. Ongoing R&D efforts will further reduce methane slip over the next years, bringing even higher GHG emission reduction potential.
In addition to bio-LNG, a biogenic CO₂ stream will be captured and liquefied during the project. The plant should produce 5,000 tonnes per year of bio-CO2.
Details of the FirstBio2Shipping project can be found here.
South Africa to start importing LNG
In November 2021, South Africa received its first-ever shipment of LNG. This is a precursor to the commissioning of the country’s first floating storage unit to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022. The infrastructure took seven years to build. In the context of South Africa’s energy transition, LNG has the potential to drive significant growth and job creation, while helping the country meet its targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30% to 40%.
Preliminary deal for LNG production in Mauritania
In December 2021, a US-based company, New Fortress Energy, signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mauritania on developing an “energy hub” using existing offshore gas reserves off the coast of Mauritania. This plan may cover natural gas, power, LNG and blue ammonia. The company plans to use its “Fast LNG” technology to supply LNG to local markets and exports. Fast LNG involves pairing modular mid-size liquefaction units with jack-up rigs, or other floating infrastructure, thereby reducing costs and accelerating LNG production.
The MOU is not binding on the parties and the actual terms of any future definitive agreement may differ from the current terms.