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Oil & Gas

What’s in the Pipeline for LNG?

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) production has been active in the U.S. for decades, but it’s only recently gained enough traction to make headlines. Since the U.S.’s first major LNG export terminal the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Louisiana began operations in 2016, several other projects that will shape the future of LNG have been set into motion.

LNG is helping the U.S. meet ballooning energy demands while bolstering the economy. It directly supports thousands of jobs and represents tens of billions of dollars of investment in communities across the nation. What’s more, over 200 million metric tons of new capacity is required by 2050 to meet the growing global demand for LNG, according to recent McKinsey research. Now is the time to continue investing in domestic LNG projects and adjacent technologies to fortify LNG infrastructure in the U.S.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most recent developments in LNG capital expenditure projects, as well as what we can expect in this realm in the near future. 

Innovation in LNG: Who’s Leading the Charge?  

 Several U.S. energy companies are positioning themselves as leaders in LNG innovation, investing in capital expenditure projects to continue meeting the need for heightened LNG production. Here are some of the developments we’re keeping our eyes on.   

Sempra Launches Port Arthur LNG Phase 1  

 Sempra, one of the largest utilities in the U.S., operates predominantly in Southern California, Texas and parts of Mexico. Sempra's operations include natural gas distribution, the creation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, and electricity generation and distribution, providing energy to millions of customers. The company has recently launched a new LNG project in Jefferson County, Texas.

Port Arthur LNG Phase 1 is a natural gas liquefaction and export terminal in Southeast Texas with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. The project facilities will include two natural gas liquefaction trains capable of producing, under optimal conditions, up to approximately 13.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA); as well as new natural gas pipelines to deliver natural gas to the terminal. Total capital expenditure for the Port Arthur Phase 1 project is estimated at $13 billion.

Sempra is also shifting from regasification at its ECA LNG facility (partially owned by TotalEnergies) in Mexico to liquefaction. ECA LNG was the only LNG export project in the world to have reached final investment decision (FID) in 2020.   

Venture Global LNG Develops Plaquemines LNG 

Venture Global LNG has been involved in several LNG projects along the Gulf Coast of the United States, including a new LNG export facility in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, approximately 20 miles south of New Orleans. When fully developed, Plaquemines LNG will have an export capacity of up to 20 million metric tons per year.

Venture Global LNG typically builds modularly to streamline the development process and reduce costs. The .626 MTPA liquefaction modules are fabricated off-site, then pre-tested and delivered completely assembled to the site. 

New Fortress Energy is Spearheading Floating Liquefied Natural Gas Technology 

New Fortress Energy is working on projects designed to deliver LNG to businesses around the globe. The company harnesses existing FLNG (floating liquefied natural gas) technology and combines it with a modular approach: a proprietary offshore natural gas liquefaction facility built on platforms. Standardized modules for liquefaction, gas treatment and utilities are fabricated at a shipyard. They’re assembled in close proximity to their final destination to minimize transportation time and risk of damage. Modules and major equipment are installed on platforms at the shipyard as well. The platforms are then transported and installed offshore. 

Looking Ahead: More Modular LNG Terminal Construction  

Modular construction of LNG terminals is likely to play an increased role in the industry as demand for LNG increases.

Modular construction has several benefits. For starters, it enhances both cost and time efficiency. Prefabricated modules created on factory assembly lines are typically less expensive than bespoke materials. Moreover, the streamlined assembly process in a factory setting reduces overall construction time.

Quality assurance protocols in a factory environment also help mitigate risks associated with on-site construction challenges. Plus, modular components can be easily adapted or modified to accommodate changes in project scope, site conditions and other factors.

Finally, building components off-site and transporting them to the project site can help overcome logistical challenges while reducing the need for extensive on-site construction activities. It can also promote safety by minimizing exposure to hazardous work conditions and environmental risks during on-site assembly.  

Introducing Digital Transformation into New Capital Projects Improves Outcomes 

While modularization will play an increasing role in the LNG sector, innovations in the digital realm will also prove invaluable in the years to come.  

Digitalization enables LNG producers to seamlessly integrate capital project data into operations. Incorporating data historians, artificial intelligence and other digital technologies can optimize maintenance schedules, predict equipment failures and maximize the efficiency and life span of assets.  

Digitalizing operations management and shift handover can reduce the incidence of human error and improve overall operational efficiency throughout capital projects.  

Enterprise Asset Management systems like HxGN EAM, which can help LNG executives and supervisors access crucial information about assets, work orders and inventory, are also a critical aspect of digitalization efforts to optimize capital project development.  

Software like HxGN EAM also enables LNG companies to monitor and manage their extensive and complex assets efficiently, ensuring optimal utilization and maintenance throughout their lifecycle. Moreover, this software can be leveraged to improve workflows in modular construction processes by providing heightened visibility into every asset, from fabrication through to installation.   

Robust operations management solutions – which document and manage the execution of safety-critical processes – are equally valuable, delivering new levels of understanding and control by digitalizing key information necessary for the development and optimization of capital projects.  

Let’s take a look at some of these examples in action. 

Singapore LNG Corporation 

Singapore LNG Corporation needed to ensure compliance with numerous safety and quality assurance regulations during the launch of its first domestic terminal. To do that, it required a software solution that could provide a comprehensive, unified suite of operations, process safety and compliance management applications that would provide their users with a consistent, intuitive interface. 

This was made possible with j5 Operations Management Solutions, which enabled their facilities to document and manage the execution of multiple safety-critical industrial processes. The j5 system’s apps aligned closely with the plant’s unique requirements and offered configuration options which would allow it to continue to meet Singapore LNG Corporation’s needs as they evolved over time.  


ENEOS, which owns one of the oldest refineries in Japan, needed an enterprise system that would bring safety, maintenance, planning, real-time control, personnel and other areas under a single umbrella, where they could improve process visibility and achieve a  consistent level of management. By using j5 Operations Management Solutions, ENEOS was able to achieve better coordination, consistent recording of tasks and a more consistent, digitalized, shift handover process. The benefits of j5 Operations Management Solutions is its ability to evolve from simple single-site systems to multiple sites with multiple applications. As a result, fewer accidents, improved communications and improved efficiency were noted across ENEOS’ 11 refineries.  

U.S.-based LNG producers also reap the benefits of the j5 system and its applications. j5 Operations Management Solutions serves as a centralized data repository and improves shift-to-shift communication. Armed with real-time data insights, all involved stakeholders are empowered with enhanced decision-making and more accurate forecasting abilities, ensuring that capital projects stay on budget, on schedule, and within their required regulatory framework.  

LNG’s future is bright  

 LNG projects aren’t slowing down, and the U.S. is poised to maintain its position as a global leader in the production and export of LNG (despite the White House’s recent pause on new licenses for LNG exporters). Continued innovation, investment and strategic planning will be essential for realizing the full potential of U.S. LNG exports in the years ahead.

In addition to supporting oil and gas innovators in expanding and optimizing their capital projects, Hexagon partners with engineering, procurement and construction firms contracted to build LNG terminals. To learn more about digital solutions for continued LNG innovation, reach out to Hexagon today.