What is natural gas?
“Natural gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, but commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, or helium.” (Wikipedia) To put it in a simple way to understand, natural gas is a gaseous energy source whose main component is methane (CH4). Natural gas exists in the nature, yet it needs to be extracted and processed to become the natural gas we use.
Natural gas is a high-quality energy source thanks to its high calorific value and stable energy supply during combustion. And because of its low carbon emission after combustion, natural gas is environmentally friendly comparing with coal and oil products such as gasoline, diesel and LPG. Natural gas is also colorless, odorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive.
Though natural gas is new to Cambodia, it has been playing a significant role in the world energy market for decades, especially in power sector. In Cambodia’s neighbor Thailand, natural gas contributes to approximately 60–65% of the country’s power generation. In Malaysia, 53% of the electricity is generated by natural gas. In Singapore, a country whose energy market also heavily relies on import, a surprising 95% of its power comes from natural gas.
What is LNG?
Natural gas is a gaseous form of energy source, so it can be transported through pipelines from producing regions to markets. But because of the same reason, it is not practical to store natural gas in a large volume, as well as transporting it to places where pipelines are not feasible or do not exist.
The invention of LNG made both possible.
LNG stands for liquefied natural gas. As we can tell from its full name, LNG is natural gas in liquid form. LNG is produced by cooling natural gas down to approximately -162 °C; in the process, not only the temperature and form of natural gas changes, its volume also becomes 600 times smaller. As a result, natural gas becomes a liquid with only 1/600th of its original volume. LNG’s 1/600th volume means much less space is required for storage, and its liquid form means it can be easily contained to be transported.
LNG makes it possible for countries like Cambodia to import natural gas without building pipelines. CNGC adapted ISO tank container, a relatively new concept for LNG transportation, to import natural gas into Cambodia for the first time.
LNG shares many same characteristics with natural gas: it is colorless, odorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive.
However, LNG has a key difference from natural gas: LNG cannot burn. And because of this key difference, LNG has to be converted back to natural gas in order to be used.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)