Shell has been a pioneer in liquefied natural gas (LNG) for more than 50 years. In Arzew, Algeria, the first commercial LNG liquefaction plant was delivered in 1964 with Shell involvement, and we shipped the first commercial cargo from Algeria to the UK in the same year, starting today’s global trade.

We have continued to innovate and improve the technology behind LNG, and have worked hard to find ways to make more LNG available where it is needed around the world. For example, we are building Prelude FLNG, the world’s largest floating LNG production facility, which will access gas resources from underwater fields too uneconomic or challenging to reach from land.

What is LNG and how can we use it?

LNG is a clear, colourless and non-toxic liquid which forms when natural gas is cooled to -162ºC (-260ºF). The cooling process shrinks the volume of the gas 600 times, making it easier and safer to store and ship. In its liquid state, LNG will not ignite. 

When LNG reaches its destination, it is turned back into a gas at regasification plants. It is then piped to homes, businesses and industries where it is burnt for heat or to generate electricity. LNG is now also emerging as a cost-competitive and cleaner transport fuel, especially for shipping and heavy-duty road transport.

Shell's LNG carried, called Murex travelling through the ocean
Shell's new Murex LNG carrier marks 125 years of Shell Shipping

LNG safety

Shell has played a leading role in technical safety research for many years. Our research has supported the development of safe designs for on- and offshore LNG facilities, terminals and ships.

Multiple layers of protection at LNG facilities are designed to reduce the risk of incidents: for example, by minimising any confined spaces where LNG vapour could accumulate and removing ignition sources.

Shell joint ventures operate a diverse portfolio of LNG plants and terminals around the world.

Read more about our process safety

Fuelling a growing market with LNG

LNG is rapidly playing a bigger role in the energy mix. LNG trade increased from 100 million tonnes in 2000 to nearly 300 million tonnes in 2017.For comparison, just 80,000 tonnes of LNG were shipped by two carriers in 1964, the first year of the LNG trade.

Shell is involved at every stage of the LNG journey: finding the fields and extracting gas, liquefying gas and shipping it, then turning the LNG back into gas and distributing it to customers.

Read about our trading and supply business

Our LNG presence

Shell is one of the world’s largest LNG shipping operators, managing and operating more than 40 carriers and has 50 on time-charter. Combined, these approximately 90 LNG carriers is around 20% of the global LNG shipping fleet.

Our trading operation buys and sells LNG to and from Shell, its partners and third parties, helping to meet customers' long-term energy needs and respond flexibly to short-term changes in demand.

Today Shell has LNG supply projects around the world. We also have a major interest in two regasification plants – Hazira,India and Dragon, UK –, and long-term access to capacity in several others in Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Read more about our LNG supply projects and regasification plants

Shell launches LNG Outlook 2018

The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market grew by 29 million tonnes in 2017, according to Shell's LNG Outlook, which highlights trends and focuses on global supply and demand.

Read the Shell LNG Outlook 2018

More in energy and innovation

LNG for transport

Liquefied natural gas can be a cost-competitive and cleaner fuel for heavy-duty road transport, shipping and industrial users. 

Floating LNG

FLNG technology can tap into gas resources from underwater gas fields previously too challenging to reach.

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