ExxonMobil is developing a new technology called Pressurized LNG (PLNG) to expand the options available for commercializing gas resources. The demand for natural gas is predicted to increase considerably in the next 25 years, while supplies located near markets are dwindling. The emerging PLNG technology aims to lower the cost of moving gas from the field to the market by optimizing the trade-offs between the facilities and the shipping cost. In this concept, liquefied gas is transported under moderate pressures and warmer temperatures than conventional LNG resulting in a dramatic reduction in the facilities required to treat and liquefy the gas while maintaining a commercially attractive cargo density for shipping. In addition, the reduced space, weight, and costs of the PLNG facilities relative to LNG make potential offshore implementation more feasible.
The amount of equipment and corresponding costs associated with the PLNG export facilities is approximately one-half of an LNG plant with comparable throughput. In order to realize overall project savings, the incremental increase in shipping costs must be less thatn the decrease in facility costs. To improve the feasibility of the concept, a new PLNG containment system was developed for transportation of the pressurized cargo.
Over the next several decades, natural gas will play a vital role in meeting the world's energy demands. As near market supplies of gas dwindle, remotely located resources will be required to fill the gap. Substantial resources are located in areas where costs to develop the infrastructure to extract the resource are significant due to environmental or political impediments. In order to commercialize these resources, the transportation component of the monetization chain must not add costs to the final delivered gas that results in a final price that the market will not bear.