liquified natural gas plant enersys houston texas

LNG Plants: Build Systems to Support New Pipeline Networks

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is increasingly valuable in today’s global oil and gas market. Many LNG operators are challenged with the operating and regulatory compliance issues associated with the pipeline supplying natural gas to their facilities.

The issue for many companies is they are entering new territory classified as gas transmission, which means needing to set up entirely new information systems to support the pipeline network.

What’s the Current State of the LNG Market?

Right now, there is an abundance of natural gas in production. As shale continues to be a major source of natural gas, the amount of available natural gas will continue to outpace consumer demand. So, what’s the answer to LNG vs. natural gas?

Natural gas producers and takeaway pipeline operators are looking at LNG as a viable, long-term market. Liquifying natural gas reduces its volume by about 600:1, and makes it easier to ship. The result is a fuel supply that burns much cleaner than fuel oil or coal.

This is very attractive both in the U.S. and internationally, where cheaper delivery of product means less cost to the end-consumer. As a result, the global demand for LNG is growing and it will only continue to increase over time.

How Can Companies Capitalize on the LNG Power Trend?

Companies involved in natural gas production are seeing the benefits of tapping into LNG production. Many LNG projects are either under construction or in the approval process.

Specifically, as of January 2019, FERC reported that 13 LNG import/export terminals were approved for construction. Some of these are located onshore and others are located in the Gulf of Mexico.

Regardless, there are challenges for companies entering the LNG market or expanding their LNG operations to set up operations in accordance with regulations.

Because LNG plants must have feeder pipelines, they handle a significant volume of gas, and their pipelines operate at high pressures, most companies are classified as gas transmission operators. This means subject to PHMSA regulation.

Additionally, the LNG facilities themselves are regulated by PHMSA to ensure the safe process, transport, and distribution of product.

What’s one solution? Many LNG operators are trying to find third party pipelines to build and deliver the liquified natural gas on their behalf. However, because LNG production is trending upward, there is a shortage of available third parties to partner with.

What’s an alternative solution? Companies are considering how to set up their own systems to support the pipeline network. This way, they can take advantage of the market conditions to turn excess supply of natural gas into LNG.

What Are the Challenges Building Your Own Network?

For companies that have little to no experience building out a system in the gas transmission space, there are critical areas to consider.

  • Standing up a control room to ensure safe and compliant operations.
  • Building out the SCADA system to manage communication and data in the system.
  • Establishing the HMI architecture, philosophy, style guide, and design guide compliant with API 1165 for control room controller displays.
  • Having the right software applications to support critical areas of the control room — recordkeeping, alarm management, fatigue mitigation, and point-to-point verification.

Because this is new territory for many companies, we are available to help LNG operators take advantage of the market conditions, achieve compliance, and operate safely.

We offer the POEMS Control Room Management Suite (CRM Suite) software that supports each critical area of control room management. We built a robust software suite to make it easy to manage the control room, support team training for controllers, and pass the PHMSA audit.

Schedule a consultation with our team about our software support for LNG operators. Complete the contact form on our website, email, or call us directly at 281-598-7100 for more information.