LNG to the Rescue in Whyalla
A virtual pipeline was used to supply gas to Whyalla after a real pipeline from the Moomba gas fields ruptured between Caltowie and Gladstone last Sunday.
LNG – Liquefied Natural Gas – was transported by truck to deliver emergency gas supplies to Whyalla Hospital and about 1200 other local customers.
What is LNG?
LNG, or Liquefied Natural Gas, is simply natural gas in a liquid form.
It is the same natural gas that millions of Australian homeowners and businesses use every day.
Put simply, LNG is Natural Gas Made Portable™.
Natural gas – Methane -- is processed into LNG by cooling it to −161°C, at which point it becomes a liquid.
This reduces the volume of the natural gas by a factor of more than 600 times as it goes from its gaseous state to liquid.
When required for use, LNG is warmed back to natural gas, a process known as regasification.
This regasification is accomplished using a procedure involving heat exchangers or vaporisers.
The following is a brief 90 second video explaining LNG...
Who Was Involved?
In addition to supplying LPG, Elgas teams up with sister company BOC to supply LNG to larger gas users around Australia.
The gas for this rescue mission came from the BOC LNG facility in Victoria. They also have LNG production facilities in Queensland and Tasmania.
In this case, APA Group, which manages SA's gas network, worked with BOC to arrange for the emergency supplies to be injected into the Whyalla gas system.
5500 customers in Port Pirie and another 3,000 Whyalla customer remain affected by the rupture.
How Did They Do It?
The LNG was transported from Victoria to Whyalla in a specially equipped LNG tanker truck.
After arrival, the truck also served as a temporary storage facility.
An LNG heat exchanger was also transported to the site for the regasification process.
The LNG from the truck was fed into the heat exchanger, which draws in ambient heat to warm the LNG and turn it back into a gas.
The gas was then injected into the Whyalla gas network for use by the hospital and the other local customers.
The photos below show the tanker next to the heat exchanger, which is the large metallic structure. The injection piping is also shown.
The gas started to flow into the gas network on the afternoon of the 16th.
BOC will continue to support Whyalla until the main pipeline is repaired.
BOC and APA worked closely with Safe Work South Australia to ensure safety standards were maintained for this emergency project.
APA Group representatives will visit each consumer property to reconnect supply and re-light appliances.
It is imperative that this only be done safely by an APA Group representative.
However, people are being urged to restrict their gas use to essential requirements.
The Virtual Pipeline
BOC is both a gases and engineering company. BOC is also a technology leader in LNG.
They construct the plants that turn natural gas into LNG.
They used their expertise to respond to this emergency in a rapid, effective and safe manner.
BOC’s know-how in building small scale LNG plants can also help Australia utilise ‘stranded gas’.
These are valuable natural gas deposits that are too small to justify the building of a real pipeline, but a virtual pipeline solves the problem.
Elgas and BOC work together to supply LNG for various applications, from food processing to asphalt production.
Large gas customers across Australia benefit from this amazing technology, using LNG to run their businesses and support the Australian economy.
Comments, questions or feedback?
The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.