LNG stands for Liquefied Natural Gas. It is a gas composed primarily of methane, the simplest and most abundant hydrocarbon in nature, made up of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. After the extraction and elimination of impurities, it is cooled to –162°C. At this temperature it becomes liquid and its volume is reduced by 600 times. In the liquid state it can easily stored in tanks, pumped into LNG carriers and transported over long distances to consumption markets, where it is regasified and distributed.

Natural gas has long been acknowledged as the cleanest of the fossil fuels, as it is able to ensure safety and reliability of its supply as well as environmental compatibility.

Natural gas has, in fact, a lower carbon content in comparison to coal and oil and emits a lower amount of greenhouse gas in the combustion process. The use of natural gas reduces CO2 emissions unlike other fossil fuels. According to data provided by experts (source: RIE), in comparison to coal, the carbon dioxide generated by natural gas is by 60% lower than coal per unit of used energy, and 20% lower compared to oil. Natural gas also has lower emissions of nitrogen oxide (which contributes to ozone development and acidification on the surface level) and of sulfur dioxide (which, together with nitrogen oxide, causes acid rain and the development of particulates that are among the causes smog and bad air quality).

Liquefied natural gas is one of the energy sources with the most rapid growth in use. Global demand for LNG is supposed to reach 500 million tons per year by 2030. LNG presently accounts for about 25% of the international gas market.
In the Italian energy system, natural gas has increasingly replaced oil derivatives (diesel in home heating systems and fuel oil in electricity).
For the next 20 years, a growing use of LNG has been estimated, as it represents a valuable cost effective and “green” alternative to traditional fuels.