LNG Myth Busters: Natural Gas: Clean or Dirty? Part 1

The development of LNG projects has a lot of people talking about the environmental impacts of using natural gas and how it compares to other energy sources.

In this two-part series we’ll dig deep into five of the top myths associated with LNG. In the first part, we’ll tackle:

  • Myth #1: CO2 emissions from LNG are no less than that of coal
  • Myth #2: LNG shipping is dangerous

 

 

Myth #1: the CO2 emissions from LNG are no less than that of coal

False! The truth is, natural gas is a non-renewable fossil fuel, and like all fossil fuels it creates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Too many emissions have harmed the earth’s atmosphere and reducing emissions worldwide, especially CO2 (carbon dioxide) is needed to help combat global warming and climate change.

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel available at the moment. A natural gas power plant produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulfur oxides as a coal-fired power plant.

While many advocate for a quick global transition to clean energies, the world’s largest energy user, China, still relies heavily on coal. Yet China has set targets to reduce its emissions and is beginning to substitute natural gas for coal-fired plants. As China and other countries get on board with even cleaner energy, like solar and wind, they still need to meet the rest of their energy demands in the meantime.

In B.C., we are fortunate to have abundant natural gas to meet our electricity, cooking and heating needs. For countries whose populations and energy demands are growing, reducing CO2 emissions is a daunting task. By sharing B.C.’s natural gas with others, we can contribute to reduced global emissions and benefit from economic growth in First Nations communities.  

 

Myth #2: LNG shipping is dangerous

False! The truth is that LNG has an excellent transport safety record. Over the last 50 years, over 80,000 LNG cargoes have been delivered with no loss of cargo tank containment and no on-board fatalities attributable to LNG. Double hulled with storage tanks, LNG carriers are among the most modern ships.

In the rare event of a spill, LNG is non-polluting because it quickly dissipates upon contact with air and water. So, whether a pipeline leak happened on land or a carrier lost cargo at sea, the gas would would not harm the ecosystem. There is even a video out there showing LNG evaporating off the top of a goldfish bowl with the goldfish going unharmed and a man drinking water from a glass after LNG was poured onto and evaporated from the glass.

Fears of LNG explosions are unfounded, since natural gas is only explosive in its gaseous state under exactly the right conditions. Industry has well developed technology and high safety standards to manage the conditions of natural gas and keep it in its liquid state.

 

Now that you know a bit more about the truths behind CO2 emissions and shipping, watch for next week’s myth busting that will tackle:

  • Myth #3: First Nations do not want LNG development on their territory
  • Myth #4: We have little experience with natural gas and all new pipeline will have to be constructed for it
  • Myth #5: Natural gas fracking endangers our infrastructure and water supply

Photo Sources: UCSUSA and ABC News