The refrigeration and liquefaction process is the key element of a liquid natural gas (LNG) project and for most estimates of under construction or contemplated projects it can consume about 35% of the capital expenditure and up to 50% of the subsequent operating costs. The latest figures by the time of this writing showed that the world liquefaction capacity was 17 Bcf/d, slated to increase to 41 Bcf/d by 2010. There are several different licensed processes available with varying degrees of application and experience. This paper presents a critical overview of the LNG process and an analysis of the main methods available for the liquefaction of natural gas in an onshore LNG plant. The paper also discusses selection issues relating to the main technologies that affect LNG plant configuration.

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