A NOVEL PROCESS TO USE SALT CAVERNS TO RECEIVE SHIP BORNE LNG

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This cooperative research project validates use of man made salt caverns to receive and store the cargoes of LNG ships in lieu of large liquid LNG tanks. Salt caverns will not tolerate direct injection of LNG because it is a cryogenic liquid, too cold for contact with salt. This research confirmed the technical processes and the economic benefits of pressuring the LNG up to dense phase, warming it to salt compatible temperatures and then directly injecting the dense phase gas into salt caverns for storage. The use of salt caverns to store natural gas sourced from LNG imports, particularly when ... continued below

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McCall, Michael M.; Bishop, William M.; Krekel, Marcus; Davis, James F. & Scherz, D. Braxton May 31, 2005.

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Description

This cooperative research project validates use of man made salt caverns to receive and store the cargoes of LNG ships in lieu of large liquid LNG tanks. Salt caverns will not tolerate direct injection of LNG because it is a cryogenic liquid, too cold for contact with salt. This research confirmed the technical processes and the economic benefits of pressuring the LNG up to dense phase, warming it to salt compatible temperatures and then directly injecting the dense phase gas into salt caverns for storage. The use of salt caverns to store natural gas sourced from LNG imports, particularly when located offshore, provides a highly secure, large scale and lower cost import facility as an alternative to tank based LNG import terminals. This design can unload a ship in the same time as unloading at a tank based terminal. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve uses man made salt caverns to securely store large quantities of crude oil. Similarly, this project describes a novel application of salt cavern gas storage technologies used for the first time in conjunction with LNG receiving. The energy industry uses man made salt caverns to store an array of gases and liquids but has never used man made salt caverns directly in the importation of LNG. This project has adapted and expanded the field of salt cavern storage technology and combined it with novel equipment and processes to accommodate LNG importation. The salt cavern based LNG receiving terminal described in the project can be located onshore or offshore, but the focus of the design and cost estimates has been on an offshore location, away from congested channels and ports. The salt cavern based terminal can provide large volumes of gas storage, high deliverability from storage, and is simplified in operation compared to tank based LNG terminals. Phase I of this project included mathematical modeling that proved a salt cavern based receiving terminal could be built at lower capital cost, and would have significantly higher delivery capacity, shorter construction time, and be much more secure than a conventional liquid tank based terminal. Operating costs of a salt cavern terminal are lower than tank based terminals because ''boil off'' is eliminated and maintenance costs of caverns are lower than LNG tanks. Phase II included the development of offshore mooring designs, wave tank tests, high pressure LNG pump field tests, heat exchanger field tests, and development of a model offshore LNG facility and cavern design. Engineers designed a model facility, prepared equipment lists, and confirmed capital and operating costs. In addition, vendors quoted fabrication and installation costs, confirming that an offshore salt cavern based LNG terminal would have lower capital and operating costs than a similarly sized offshore tank based terminal. Salt cavern storage is infinitely more secure than surface storage tanks, far less susceptible to accidents or purposeful damage, and much more acceptable to the community. More than thirty industry participants provided cost sharing, technical expertise, and guidance in the conduct and evaluation of the field tests, facility design and operating and cost estimates. Their close participation has accelerated the industry's acceptance of the conclusions of this research. The industry participants also developed and submitted several alternative designs for offshore mooring and for high pressure LNG heat exchangers in addition to those that were field tested in this project. HNG Storage, a developer, owner, and operator of natural gas storage facilities, and a participant in the DOE research has announced they will lead the development of the first offshore salt cavern based LNG import facility. Which will be called the Freedom LNG Terminal. It will be located offshore Louisiana, and is expected to be jointly developed with other members of the research group yet to be named. An offshore port license application is scheduled to be filed by fourth quarter 2005 and the terminal could be operational by 2009. This terminal allows the large volume importation of LNG without disrupting coastal port operations by being offshore, out of sight of land.

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  • Report No.: none
  • Grant Number: FC26-02NT41653
  • DOI: 10.2172/861454 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 861454
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc791852

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  • May 31, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 19, 2015, 7:14 p.m.

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  • Nov. 30, 2016, 1:14 p.m.

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McCall, Michael M.; Bishop, William M.; Krekel, Marcus; Davis, James F. & Scherz, D. Braxton. A NOVEL PROCESS TO USE SALT CAVERNS TO RECEIVE SHIP BORNE LNG, report, May 31, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc791852/: accessed October 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.