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Regasification plant

Regasification plant

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There is an increasing demand for natural gas as a fuel for domestic and industrial use. Use of natural gas helps diversify the energy sources used, and reduces pollutant emissions into the air.

But, how does the natural gas reach our homes?


In its natural form, natural gas is found under the ground or under the seabed. It is a mixture of light, colourless and odourless hydrocarbon gases.

  1. Natural deposit where the gas is extracted. Can be offshore or on land. Rigs drill down approximately 3000 to 3500 metres. On land, deposits can be drilled up to 5000 metres down.
  2. Liquefaction plant in the country of origin, where the gas is transformed into liquid at a cryogenic temperature close to absolute zero.
  3. Advanced-technology methane tankers transport the liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the points of consumption at a constant cryogenic temperature.
  4. Once the tanker reaches its destination, the liquefied gas is returned to its original gaseous state, in a process known as regasification.

The gas is extracted in the countries of origin and the cooled to -160º C in liquefaction plants so that it can be transported in liquid form. Liquefied gas occupies 60 times less space than in its natural state, making it easy to transport by ship.


The regasification plant has docking facilities and systems for transporting and storing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and turning it back into natural gas (NG).

A - Pumping system

A system of transport pipes carries the LNG to the tanks for storage.

B - Berthing jetty

The ship docks at the facilities and is moored to the jetty using a system of “cats-whiskers”. Specially designed unloading arms unload the gas from the holds. This operation can take up to 24 hours.

Storage: Cryogenic Tanks

These sophisticated works of engineering, 55 metres high and 75 metres in diameter, are built using the most advanced technology and allow the LNG to be stored at a temperature of -160º C. They consist of an inner tank of cryogenic steel, perlite insulation, and another outer tank made of steel and prestressed concrete.

A - Cross section of a concrete tank

  1. Concrete
  2. Insulating perlite
  3. Manta Aislante
  4. Sheet of metal alloy
  5. Filler concrete
  6. Concrete ceiling
  7. Hanging supports
  8. Insulation
  9. Inner tank
  10. Floor of the metal tank
  11. Perlite
  12. Suspended ceiling

B - The LNG

Is pumped in and out through the top of the tank


The LNG is piped from the storage tanks to the vaporization, regulation and odourisation systems where it is converted into the final product: Natural Gas.

A) Vaporizers

Vaporizers raise the temperature of the liquefied gas, using sea water. This returns the LNG to its gaseous state.

B) Reliquefaction plant

Performs "boil-off" recovery. During the storage process, a certain amount of LNG is turned back into natural gas. Here it is recovered and mixed with the regasified gas in the vaporizers.

C) Regulating station

Natural gas goes through a process of regulation, measurement and odourisation to enable leaks to be detected.


The fully conditioned natural gas is distributed through pipelines to the final consumers for home use (such as home heating and hot water), and also for industrial use.

It also plays an important role in generating electricity in natural-gas powered combined-cycle plants.

World reserves

  • Canada: 1%
  • Irak: 1,8%
  • Holland: 1%
  • Norway: 1,2%
  • Russia: 27,6%
  • Kazakhstan: 1,1%
  • Turkmenistan: 1,2%
  • Uzbekistan: 1,1%
  • Malaysia: 1,2%
  • Indonesia: 1,5%
  • USA: 3,1%
  • Argelia: 2,6%
  • Venezuela: 2,4%
  • Egypt: 1%
  • Nigeria: 2,6%
  • Saudi Arabia: 3,8%
  • Qatar: 15%
  • United Arab Emirates: 3,5%
  • Iran: 15,5%
  • Australia: 1,5%

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This is the attention service of the Basque Energy Agency.