Chapter 3: The evolution of LNG markets and primary demand regions
The rapid growth of and intense interest in LNG over the past decade might lead some to believe that LNG is a newly discovered fuel. In fact, LNG is not a new fuel at all; it is merely a means of delivering an old fuel – natural gas. For decades, natural gas was viewed as an unwanted byproduct of drilling for oil. Whereas oil was relatively easy to store, load, and transport, transporting natural gas presented a significant technical challenge that would take decades to solve. The challenge of course is that natural gas has to be chilled through a process known as liquefaction before it can be turned into a liquid that can be transported. Natural gas liquefaction dates back to the 19th century when British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday experimented with liquefying different types of gases, including methane/natural gas. German engineer Karl von Linde facilitated advances in gas liquefaction on an industrial scale when he invented a heat exchanger and later the first practical compressor refrigerator machine. However, it was not until 1914 that Godfrey Cabot registered the first US patent for transporting liquefied natural gas on a barge, although there is no material proof that this was actually done.
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