Natural Gas, NGLs, and LNG, Oh My!

Not specifically Methane,,, they won’t be storing Methane there. But I would assume the same poll could be applied to the Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) which are ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and pentane. Mountaineer wants to store ethane (maybe Hydrogen instead), butane, and propane.

So we are all on the same page and for comms purposes it would get around some of the trickiness/confusion talking about Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) vs Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). So everyone understands the Natural Gas Liquids are again ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and pentane… They are liquids at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, they are what makes our natural gas here “wet gas”… they come up out of the ground with the Methane which is the main product they are drilling for. Thus the Natural Gas Liquids are kinda a byproduct and why the industry wants to do something with them here. 
On the other hand Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is just methane that is super chilled down to a liquid and kept that way with pressurization for transportation and storage. Obviously that makes the methane denser but also more explosive… when you hear about “bomb trains” that is Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) in tanker cars. 
The process of making methane a liquid takes place at a cryogenic plant (cryo plant on the ground)… there are many many cryo plants in our region. Bringing that up as potential site fights.
So yeah all that to say, be careful talking about LNG and NGL’s and maybe let’s make sure to specifically name what NGL’s we are talking about when we are talking about them. I hope that clarifies because we have been called out on confusing the two many times. LNG is Natural Gas, Methane, under pressure. and NGL’s are ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and pentane. 

Just adding a bit more…. you notice the food industry wants to take advantage of the term “natural” whenever it can in some cases nothing is actually from nature (cosmetics) but it seems to draw in consumers.


Also, note that  the first four alkane (hydrocarbons) in the homologous series of C are NOT liquids at room temperature and pressure, and so when transporting these they have to pressurize them to liquids because first and foremost it just takes up less space and you get more into the containers. When they pull the mixed hydrocarbons up to the surface, they may call them “wet gas” but they are indeed still gases at least the first four (see chart). They might be liquid under the earth due to pressure but once removed from that setting they become gases. Liquified natural gas also must be pressurized for transportation in tankers or pipelines. 


We need to call it fracked gas as it was derived from fracking in my opinion or to stay on the same page as analytical chemistry, methane. Another issue to point out- is there going to be methyl mercaptan added to the gas in the storage hub? THis is the rotten egg smell if you have gas stoves that you smell. It is NOT naturally occuring and is added to be able to detect a leak. Methane has no smell. It is colorless and odorless. 


Natural gas liquids are only liquid so long as they stay pressurized , lone pentane might be a liquid if the outside air temperatures are around freezing.

Updated: Feb 1, 2021 — 11:38 am

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