Between 2000 and 2012, LNG imports doubled. In the past decade, the average annual compound growth rate of LNG has reached 10%. According to the relevant data of the Financial Times, this level of demand almost exceeds that of any other marine products. However, large-scale capacity constraints have affected this growth rate to some extent. The number of cargo ships required to meet the rapidly rising global LNG demand is lower than the number of ships currently available. Last year, LNG carriers were ordered in quantities of 96 â€“ 25% of the world's approximately 370 ships. By 2022, the total number of orders is expected to increase by hundreds. Compared with 2013-2015, the average annual demand for LNG carriers between 2016 and 2022 will increase by 60%.
The importance of meeting global energy needs is growing
A century ago, the application of liquefied natural gas (LNG) was patented for the first time. In recent years, this technology has been rapidly promoted in the market. From 2010 to 2040, global energy consumption is expected to increase by 56%, and nearly half of the increase will come from China and India. These two countries are vast and have a large population, but the pipeline infrastructure is very limited. As gas becomes increasingly important to meet global energy needs, LNG technology will also need to be widely used in such markets and other areas to meet specific business requirements. It is expected that by 2030, the growth rate of LNG imports between China and India will reach a peak. In this context, from the perspective of meeting global energy demand in the next few years, offshore natural gas development is expected to rise to the same level as offshore oil exploration.
Another important reason for the rise of LNG is that natural resource reserves are gradually decreasing. This situation has also forced oil and gas companies around the world to adopt innovative resource development technologies. For a long time, natural gas deposits, which are too difficult to exploit, have remained intact without mining operations. Today, with the advent of various modern technologies such as shale gas extraction and floating production storage and offloading vessels (ship-type shipyards trading) (FPSO), the trade pattern of LNG has undergone tremendous changes. At present, Qatar and Australia are at the forefront of the market and continue to expand LNG exports.
LNG technology changes are largely due to electrification
Historically, the natural gas liquefaction process required cooling the gas to -162 Â° C and keeping the gas in a refrigerated state (purchased supply) during transportation. This process is relatively expensive compared to other ways of fossil fuel extraction and transportation. However, several key technologies developed in recent years have completely changed this situation.
These key technologies are inseparable from electrification. The pneumatic mechanical drive system used to support the liquefaction or regasification process has been rapidly replaced by electric drive systems throughout the entire process of LNG production, extraction, storage and transportation. Such electric drive systems have a smaller footprint, higher efficiency, lower maintenance frequency, and have fewer adverse effects on the environment. In addition, such systems can be applied to new, more flexible technologies â€“ such as floating production storage and offloading vessels (floating LNG) and piping systems for small-scale LNG projects. In the past, erecting such an electrical infrastructure was a huge technical challenge. However, in the past few decades, compared with traditional mechanical systems, electrification innovations have improved operational efficiency, reduced overall floor space, and reduced environmental impact.