LNG Facts

Here are a few facts about the properties of natural gas and LNG.

  • Natural gas will become liquid when cooled to -260 degrees F. It will also contract 600 times when it converts to liquid. Just how cold is -260 F?
    • Dry ice is about -110 F. That means that LNG is 150 degrees colder than dry ice. Even liquid nitrogen is warmer than LNG. Liquid Nitrogen is -238 F.
  • LNG is a liquid and will pour onto the ground.  After it warms just a few degrees, it will expand 600 times and become a vapor cloud of natural gas.
  • Until the vapor cloud reaches -160 F, it is heavier than air and will not rise.  At -160 F, it starts to become lighter than air and can slowly start to rise and be mixed with the air.
  • Natural gas requires oxygen in order to burn. It will only burn if the concentrations are correct. It needs to be between 5-15% concentrations in order to burn.
  • Natural gas in a confined space is explosive when allowed to mix with air or oxygen. This would include being contained in a pipeline, a tank, a ditch or even inside a wall. Uncontained explosions are also a possibility but are not common.
  • Fire from vapor clouds caused by LNG leaks will create a fireball, more like the effect of lighting your BBQ grill with a match on the third or fourth attempt.
  • It is not the explosion like a stick of dynamite, but a giant fireball that will engulf everything around it. These temperatures can be enough to catch flammable materials on fire, such as houses. It can also cause fatalities in humans or animals swallowed up inside the fireball.
  • If the LNG catches on fire at the source of a leak or spill, it may not cause a vapor cloud. It may just burn in place as a pool fire.
  • This becomes a very intense fire because the fire helps heat the LNG liquid and causes it to expand 600 times nearly instantly.
  • Natural gas burns at a temperature of 3500 F. This is extremely hot.
For context, consider the following temperatures
  • 3500 F                 –  Natural gas burns
  • 3000 F                 –  Meteors can reach this temperature when entering earth’s atmosphere.
  • 2500 F                 – Steel melts at this temperature
  • 1500 F                 – Steel softens at this temperature
  • 1500 to 2200 F   – Molten lava
  • 1400 F                 – Cremation oven temperature
  • 1400 F                 – Forest fire
  • 620 F                   – Melts lead
  • 570 F                   – Wood ignites
  • 212 F                   – Water boils
  • 118 F                   – Causes first degree burns
  • 98.6 F                  – Temperature of the human body