Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

What is LNG?

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is natural gas in a liquid form. When natural gas is cooled to minus 259 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 161 degrees Celsius), it becomes a clear, colorless, odorless liquid. LNG is neither corrosive nor toxic. This liquid form allows large volumes of natural gas to be transported to locations unreached by gas pipelines.

LNG in California

Between the mid-1970s and 2006, U.S. natural gas supply basins started to show diminishing production. In order to supplement this loss of production and keep natural gas prices from rising with increasing demand, eleven LNG import terminals were built in the U.S. The first four were built between 1971 and 1980 in Lake Charles, LA, Everett, MA, Elba Island, GA and Cove Point, MD. Five other LNG import terminals have subsequently been built in the Gulf of Mexico, along with one in Puerto Rico and one in Alaska. In 2007, natural gas production from shale gas formations started to increase due to advances in drilling and seismic survey technology. This led to a surge in U.S. natural gas supply and a significant reduction in domestic natural gas prices. Starting in 2008, U.S. LNG imports started fluctuating year to year, and by 2011 and 2012, imports dropped significantly. As a result, most U.S. LNG import terminals are looking for new sources of revenue, and many of the existing terminals as well as a number of proposed new terminals, have filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy for licenses to export LNG from the U.S. to international markets. There are currently no proposed LNG terminals along the California coastline.

California gets 10 percent of its natural gas from in state production and 90 percent from five interstate natural gas pipelines. While two of the proposed LNG export facilities are located on sites in Oregon, none of the proposed facilities are located in California. There are no existing LNG import or export terminals in the state.

For more information about LNG issues in California, please contact:

Silas Bauer
Energy Specialist
Electricity Analysis Office
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-20
Sacramento, CA 95814

News media please contact Media & Public Communications Office, at 916-654-4989.

Public Participation

The Energy Commission's Public Adviser, provides the public assistance in participating in Commission activities. For information on public participation, please contact the Public Adviser's Office at 916-654-4489, toll free in California at 800-822-6228, or e-mail at publicadviser@energy.ca.gov

Additional LNG Information

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