LNG Report by Pat Kelly
Comparison of LNG with domestic natural gas
gas delivered through a pipe system is a “good” fossil fuel in
terms of total emissions. It is cleaner than both oil and coal (in
terms of nitrogen and sulphur compounds and heavy metals) although,
since it is a fossil fuel, the carbon dioxide emissions are still
when natural gas is delivered though an LNG system, it starts to look
a lot worse. The process of cooling, compressing and transporting the
liquefied gas adds significantly to the total greenhouse gas
emissions. According to a recent paper in Environmental Science
Technology (Jaramillo et al, 2007), the extra processing steps
required by LNG makes LNG just as bad as coal (for electricity
generation) when it comes to total life-cycle greenhouse gas
while pollutants like sulphur and nitrogen and heavy metals are
routinely removed from the flue gasses from coal-burning power
plants, greenhouses gases like carbon dioxide are not. Which means
that LNG used in power production can easily release as many
pollutants into the atmosphere as coal, depending on how it was
processed and how far it travels.
on top of this, LNG requires a whole new infrastructure to be put
into place: processing, storage, and the huge specialised tankers
required to move it around. Building such an enormous infrastructure
has a large cost in natural resources, pollution, energy and
greenhouse gasses. Whereas coal can be transported in ships and
trains that already exist, and natural gas through pipelines that are
already in place, LNG requires a vast new infrastructure to be built.
would argue that coal is a “good” fuel from an environmental
aspect. However LNG, when taking everything into consideration, looks
like it could be even worse. It can be as least as bad as coal when
considering total life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, and might even
be worse if we take into consideration the environmental cost of
building up the infrastructure. All in all, LNG is not a good choice
if reducing greenhouse gases is one of your concerns.
et al. say in their summary:
it is important to re-evaluate whether investing billions of dollars
in LNG/SNG infrastructure will lock us into an undesirable energy
path future energy decisions costlier than ever expected and that
could make increase the environmental burden from our energy
Life-Cycle Air Emissions of Coal, Domestic Natural Gas, LNG, and SNG
for Electricity Generation.
Jaramillo, P., Griffin, W.M., and Matthews, H.S.
Sci. Technol., 41, 17, 6290 - 6296, 2007
Price trends in natural gas
LNG quote a figure of at least 70 years for the gas supply remaining
in the world, as a justification for investment in the LNG facility.
In fact nobody really knows the amount of natural gas remaining, or
the amount that can be profitably extracted.
is fairly well known is that the demand for natural gas is increasing
all the time. The EIA predicts an annual increase in natural gas
consumption until the year 2030 as 1.9% per year.
that this is the amount of gas that will be required, and does not
necessarily mean the amount that is available--the EIA in its
predictions makes no mention of where the gas is going to come from.
And if availability does not match demand, then the price will simply
are several factors that could decrease the global supply even faster
As petroleum becomes more scare and more expensive, more focus will
turn to natural gas. This is already happening, and will press the
market for natural gas.
Natural gas is also the main raw material in making artificial
fertiliser. As world population increases, and arable land area
decreases, more artificial fertiliser will be needed to feed the
The emerging world economies such as China and India are consuming
natural resources at an accelerating rate, and their demand will
further increase the price and reduce the supply.
now fossil fuel supplies are becoming tighter, population is
increasing, disruption from global warming is becoming evident, and
the international pressure to cut back on fossil fuel use is
increasing. This means that it is probably the worst time in history
to invest in fossil fuel infrastructure.
is expected that natural gas supplies and prices will be extremely
volatile over the next half-century. And what is beyond any doubt is
that one day, in the not too distant future, the natural gas will all
Energy Information Administration / International Energy Outlook 2007
Irish Energy White Paper
extract is taken from the International Energy Agency’s 2007 Report
is highly dependent on oil and increasingly dependent on natural gas.
The price of these two commodities has strongly increased recently,
which results in a heavy burden for the Irish economy and a risk for
energy security. The main alternative in the supply side is coal and
peat, which causes greenhouse gas emissions to rise much faster than
gas dependence puts a “heavy burden” on the Irish economy. Is it
therefore wise to increase this burden even further?
following extracts are taken from the government white paper
“Delivering a sustainable energy future for Ireland”.
– “Without policy change, global energy demand is projected to
increase by over 50% between now and 2030.”
implies that fossil energy prices will also increase, which makes
fossil fuels les attractive.
– “Currently over 90% of Irish energy requirements are imported.”
this reliance is hardly a good idea.
– “Further expansion of LNG capacity and gas interconnection is
underway in the UK and Europe which will benefit Ireland in terms of
security of wholesale gas supplies within this region”.
LNG is anyway supplying the UK and increasing our supply indirectly,
then why take additional risks by investing heavily in LNG
infrastructure for such a small market as Ireland?
– “While the prognosis for gas supplies is relatively secure as a
result, it is prudent for Ireland to develop a longer term strategy
to reduce over reliance on gas imports from the UK.”
can also be decreased by simply improving energy efficiency,
insulation, solar thermal etc and expanding bio energy and
– “We will achieve 15% of electricity consumption on a national
basis from renewable energy sources by 2010 and 33% by 2020;”
how, exactly, is this to be done if so much emphasis is to be placed
on expanding and investing hugely in fossil fuel projects?
a sustainable energy future for Ireland.
Policies of IEA Countries - Ireland- 2007 Review
Ireland and the Kyoto Treaty
ratifying the Kyoto protocol, the EU has agreed to a cut, on average,
by 8% from 1990 emission levels. There are also fines for member
nations that fail to meet their obligations, starting at €40/ton of
carbon dioxide in 2005, and rising to €100/ton in 2008
was allowed to increase its emissions by 12% above its 1990 levels.
But currently it is 30% above 1990m levels. By failing to meet even
this generous target, Ireland will probably have to pay a fine of 7
billion Euro by 2012, or about 2000 Euro for every man woman and
child in the country.
an article in the Irish Examiner: “Ireland is seriously lagging
behind the rest of Europe with regard to wind generation despite
having the best wind resource in the union.”
it make any sense, with this kind of deviation from both the law and
the spirit of the Kyoto treaty, to vastly increase the countries
reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels?
in Irish Examiner -