LNG Mini Terminals
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Myth about LNG import terminals:

Myth #1: LNG import terminals need to be big money, long time and big project.

The right size LNG terminal is that that suffices the needs of the project.  If there are natural gas pipelines within a reasonable distance, must probably this is the best solution.  But if there is not, you can import LNG in almost any quantity once the distribution chain is established.

Economies of scale applies, but a large terminal used at 30% capacity is less profitable than an small one used at 90%.


The right-sized terminal has two defining elements: size of the ships and distance to the source.
Myth #2: LNG ships are very big.

As of June 2011 there are close to 350 LNG carriers (LNGC) in the world.  Most of them are from 120,000 cubic meters (cbm) to 240,000 cbm.  Nevertheless, there are more than 20 ships ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 cbm available today and several companies are building more.

Depicted on the left is a 7,500 cbm LNG ship

Myth #3: LNG Terminals are a long-term investment; therefore they should start with 25 years demand horizon.

While true (LNG terminals are designed to have a life of no less than 25 years), the sunken cost of the terminal does not need to be high. The decision is between:


  • Flat-bottom tank customs build at the site, thus unmovable
  • Cryogenic vessels, highly movable

If you need 10,000 cbm a month, why build a 30,000 cbm terminal, with a tank you are not going to need for the next ten years?

Why not a 12,000 cbm terminal, that you can grow 1,000 cbm at the time and unscrew them in 10 years when you build your 30,000 cbm terminal? (you will probably pay for the 30,000 with the sale of the cryogenic tanks)

Myth #4: All terminals are built equal.

When it comes to the traditional large LNG import terminal it is true.  When it is a small import terminal there are options.


There is no doubt that in terminals smaller than 15,000 cbm cryogenic vessels are more economical. There is also no doubt, than in terminals larger than 50,000 cbm flat bottom tanks are more economical: What about the intermediate region? We suggest revising the presentation of Vaclav Chrz et al on the subject.  There are five parameters to take in consideration:


  • Project lay-out
  • Manufacturing & Construction
  • Process design
  • Pressure dynamics
  • Risk of catastrophic accidents


 Project Lay-Out



Vacuum Insulated

Number of units



Containment volume needed

The whole storage

The volume of one tank

Ground area

The area of the containment pool

The area of the containment pool is similar, but the deployment area could be larger

Design of concrete foundations


Very low cost

Manufacturing & Construction



Vacuum Insulated

Method of manufacturing

On site with shop preparation

Shop manufactured

Lead time of shop work

Several Weeks

Several Weeks

Lead time of on-site construction

Several Months

Several Days

Possibility of sequential building and commissioning



Ease to move in case of change in market environment



Process Design



Vacuum Insulated

Typical Max. pressure (bar)



Need a discharge pump



Net daily evaporation rate

0.1 to 0.2% per day

0% on operation, 0.0

Operators access for inspection and maintenance




Pressure Dynamics



Vacuum Insulated

Need of pressure control according to atmospheric pressure



Danger of roll-over



Maximum boil-off generated at roll-over

0.04% to 0.24% x hr


Need of boil-off compressors



Need of temperature and concentration profile control




Risk of Catastrophic Accidents



Vacuum Insulated

Resistance to earthquake



Catastrophic Events (war, terrorism, airplane fall, industrial catastrophe)

Risk of total damage

Risk of single or several tanks

Possibility of partial operation after a failure or accident



Myth #5: Only a few companies in the world can build LNG terminals.

Yes, very few companies can design and build a flat bottom tank and the ensuing LNG import terminal. Nevertheless, when using Vacuum Insulated tanks the most cumbersome part of the terminal is simplified.  All the cryogenic storage technology is incorporated in the shop fabricated tank, and arrives to the site ready for connection and filled with inert gas.


GasEner  has the capability to design and build your small LNG terminal and incorporate you into the LNG world.

Yes, We Can!

1,500 cbm mini terminal (3 x 500 cbm)
3,415 cbm mini terminal (5 x 683 cbm)
9,000 cbm mini terminal (9 x 1,000 cbm)