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Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) represents one of the most happening areas for turbomachinery demand. The annual amount of LNG produced is set to double by 2020 and most of the huge infrastructure projects under construction worldwide concern LNG. This is being driven by an estimated 14 million metric tons per annum average growth per year. That’s the equivalent of building three massive 4.5 million tpa trains every year until the end of the decade. The world will have to keep adding an awful lot of turbines and compressors to keep up.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is facing a conundrum. It has flat domestic natural gas consumption alongside ever growing reserves of shale gas. As all that shale gas is a whole lot cheaper than natural gas elsewhere, it makes economic sense to invest billions in building LNG export plants along North American coasts to service the insatiable appetite for gas in Europe and Asia.
First up will be the Sabine Pass LNG facility in Louisiana. Despite being very early in the construction phase, the total output of its first four LNG trains has already been sold via long-term contracts. Clearly, there is enough confidence in future demand to tempt the companies behind it to open their checkbooks to such an extent.
These events also tempted us to invest more ink into oil & gas, the dominant theme of this issue. For example, the magazine attended the GE Oil & Gas conference in Florence, Italy to find out about worldwide turbomachinery trends, orders and expansion. You can read about it in our show report, our industry Q & A, as well as in the New Products & Services and Industry News pages.
Our cover story is all about the current state of the global LNG business and the factors driving its rapid expansion. As well as build out in Asia and the Middle East, look for massive U.S. projects as the nation finds markets overseas for an overabundance of shale gas.
On the contributed article front, we have a strong showing in oil & gas. This includes a story on how to better protect centrifugal compressor surges, another on vibration issues when recips and centrifugal compressors operate in proximity, and a column on floating LNG.
There is variety, too, in the form of a piece on a new turbine for geothermal operation that harnesses Organic Rankine Cycle technology. And our Myth Busters tackle the thorny area of combined cycle efficiency. It seems that one vendor’s 60% may not be another’s. The moral of the story is that users have to know the tricks of the trade and demand an efficiency count based on agreed upon ISO conditions.
Next up will be a feature on aeroderivatives based on our visit to the Western Turbine Users conference, which will have taken place in San Diego by the time you read this. Similarly, we are about to embark upon our bi-annual trip to the Middle East Turbomachinery Symposium in Qatar. You’ll be reading about that in the next issue.
Meanwhile, I’m sure you will find value in the current edition.