Introduction            Theexperimentation on the gaseous properties started in the early 17th century.The inverse relationship between pressure and volume of gases was derived inthe middle of 17th century by Robert Boyle (Helrich, 2009, p.

122). Thetemperature effect on gases was also discovered during the same period byGuillaume Amontons. For the next 200 years, various experiments on gases wereundertaken, especially the focus on liquefying gases. The experimentation ledto many discoveries, for instance, the maximum temperature above which gascould not be liquefied was discovered by Cagniard de la Tour in the 19thcentury (Reif-Acherman, 2011, p. 2). The late 19th century saw apush to liquefy all gases. Scientists, such as James Joule, Michael Faraday andWilliam Thomson undertook experiments to liquefy gases.  The primary component in natural gas,methane, was liquefied by Karol Olszewski in 1886.

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All the gases had beenliquefied by 1900 except helium which was later liquefied in 1908. As a meansof extracting helium, the US government undertook a large-scale project toliquefy natural gas. The helium extracted was used in WWI; however, the liquidnatural gas (LNG) was regasified and put into the mains and was not stored.Natural gas liquefaction was patented in 1915 by Godfrey Cabot (Smil, 2015, p.

119). His patent consisted of a thermos bottle that could store liquid gases atvery low temperatures. The patent for large-scale natural gas liquefaction wasgranted to Lee Twomey in 1937.

Liquefaction allowed for the storage of naturalgas in gas form at a temperature of -162oC (-260oF)(Kidnay, and Parrish, 2006, p. 11).Liquefied Natural Gas (LNP)            LNPrefers to a natural gas that is odorless, nontoxic, noncorrosive, and clearliquefied formed when the gas is cooled to approximately -260oF(Kidnay, and Parrish, 2006, p. 11). The volume of the gas is shrunk toapproximately 600 times the original volume which allows the LNG to betransported and stored in the marine shipments. The LNP is not explosive orflammable in the liquid state and is not stored under pressure. Moreover, thegas does not cause explosions as it cannot be rapidly released to causeoverpressures (Kidnay, and Parrish, 2006, p.

12). LNP Benefits            LNPhas the potential to reduce the fuel costs which is the main factor in costconsiderations in inland barging. The fuel costs can take upwards of 50% of thetotal costs of transportation. The other potential benefits of LNP includehigher efficiency of the modern fleets, lower air emissions and increase thecompetitiveness which is a contributor to the economic growth (Kidnay, andParrish, 2006, p. 246).

The three main benefits of LNP can be categorised inthe form of safety, economic and environmental. The safety benefits of LNP canbe seen in terms of safe transportation, safe storage, and safety in the usage.The standards of safety for fuels, i.

e., storage, transport, and usage, haveall been made by the LNP. The economic benefits of LNP include the economicsavings that are made in both the transportation and usage of the fuels.Finally, there are the environmental benefits; for example, there is no needfor remediation of surface water, soil, and groundwater in the event of spills.Unlike crude oil and the fuels derived from crude, the LNP spills quicklydissipate into the atmosphere.

LNP Transportation            Transportationof LNP is undertaken in specially designed ships. The ships have double hullsthat protect the cargo from leaks or damage (Kidnay, and Parrish, 2006, p.252).

The membrane of the LNG vessel undergoes a number of integrity tests tocheck to protect against potential leaks. The total cost of the tanker is inthe range of $200,000 million per vessel. See Figure 1-3Figure 1: Sketch of LNP Tanker(Vessel) Figure 2: LNP Cargo Tank (LNPContainment Membrane)Figure 3: Interior of an LNP cargotank                            Themost important aspects of the gas business are the supply and transportation.

This is based on the fact that the natural gas reserves are very distant fromthe markets. The volume of natural gas that transported is normally higher thanthe volume of oil thus the majority of the volumes of natural gas aretransported through the use of pipelines (Kidnay, and Parrish, 2006, p. 259).The national gas lines that exist cover the former Soviet Union, North America,and Europe.

The natural gas has a lower density than oil even under higherpressure conditions. Before the transportation of natural gas, the belowprocess undertaken is shown in figure 4. The natural gas is first cooled to -260oF at atmospheric pressure. This is thepoint where the gas condenses into a liquid. The LNG carrier vessels have tanksthat the liquid gas in the cold state during the storage and transportation.Figure 4: Processes before transportation of LNP    Storage             Toremain liquid, the LNG must be kept cold, independent of pressure. In spite ofthe use of efficient insulation, some heat leakage will inevitably get into theLNG, resulting in vaporization of the LNG (Kidnay, and Parrish, 2006, p.

292).The boil-off gas from the vaporization acts to keep the LNG cold. The boil-offgas is typically compressed and exported as natural gas, or it is re-liquefiedand returned to storage.Safety             Anumber of measures are undertaken in the operation, construction, and design ofthe LNP facilities to ensure reliable and safe operation. LNP in its liquidstate cannot burn and is not explosive. LNP must first vaporise and mix withthe proper amounts of air – the flammable range is between 5% and 15% – to beignited and burn.

When the LNP leaks, there is rapid vaporization which turnsit into gas – methane and trace gases – which then mix with the aim (Kidnay,and Parrish, 2006, p. 309). When the mixture of the gases and air are within theflammable range, there is a risk of ignition that can create thermal radiationand fire hazards. Global Trade MajorLNG Terminals             New technologies in the early 2000s led to anincreased intensity in the building of vessels, receiving terminals and LNPterminal as a result of the lower costs. Many countries thus invested in theliquefaction and regasification projects (Curt, 2004). The figure below showsthe major trade movements of LNP in 2002 (Billion Cubic Feet).

The majorterminals can be explained in terms of the imports and the exports.Figure5: Major LNP trade movements in billion cubic feet (2002)Exports            The number of export countriesincreased to 18 in 2016. This is because countries, such as Egypt and Angolathat were earlier producing LNG but stopped the exports began to export the LNGagain.

Figure 6 below indicates the top LNG exporting countries in the world.In 2016, Qatar posted the highest exports of LNG accounting for 54% of theglobal imports.Table6: Top LNG exporting countries in 2016 Imports           The imports of LNG have also risen inthe last couple of years due to the increased demand. The top importingcountries are Japan, South Korea, China, India, and Taiwan. Table 7 indicatesthe high LNG importing countries in 2016.

Table7: Top LNG Importing Countries  Production            The production begins with thefeeding of the natural gas into the LNG plant to extract hydrogen sulfide,carbon dioxide, water, benzene and other elements that would freeze at lowtemperatures. The achievement of low temperature is critical for the storage.The elements that freeze are also removed so that the liquefaction facilitycannot be destroyed (Kidnay, and Parrish, 2006, p.

309). LNG normally containsover 90 percent methane. It also has small quantities of ethane, propane,butane, some heavier alkanes, and nitrogen. The purification process of LNG isdesigned to produce almost 100% methane.

The one major risk that is faced inthe production is that of rapid phase transition explosion (RPT). RPT occurswhen cold LNG comes into contact with water.Potential Applications of LNP            The production of LNG is gearedtowards use in an internal combustion engine. The fuel is at an early stage oftesting for use in transportation needs. The LNG is also being tested andevaluated for use in off-road, marine, trucking and train applications(Fylaktos, 2013). The current concerns regarding the use of the LNG are theproblems with the delivery of gas to the engine and the fuel tanks.

Despite theabove concerns and problems, there is strong momentum for the development ofthe LNG towards the above uses. LNG directly competes with compressed naturalgas for use in a natural gas vehicle. This is due to the fact that the enginesare identical. LNG also has potential use in boats, buses, trucks, and trains.

The aim is to increase the cost-effectiveness of transportation especially inthe communities where there is no access to pipelines or local gas supply. Production of LNG in Eastern Mediterranean            There are prospects for theproduction and export of LNG in the Eastern Mediterranean countries of Cyprusand Israel. The current discussions regarding the prospects for the export ofthe gas have focused on the two countries due to the high potentials that theyhave (Fylaktos, 2013). Previously, Egypt was the major exporter of gas from theEastern Mediterranean countries. The discussion must thus move away from thequantity of gas that the two terminals in Egypt could export regionally andinternationally to Europe, North America, and Asia. Now and the Future of LNG in Eastern Mediterranean            Currently, Egypt is the majorexporter of natural gas in the region. The discovery of natural gas at Zohr -south of the maritime border between South Cyprus and Egypt – has givenindications that Egypt may be on track towards fulfilling the demand for thenatural gas in the region. However, the discovery of the natural gas depositsin the maritime border of the two countries has also increased interest inCyprus; especially during the recent round of licensing (Koutantou andMaltezou, 2015).

Shell has undertaken an agreement with Cyprus. This has led tomassive investments by the firm in the natural gas resources of Cyprus. Cyprusmay be a source of import for Egypt. The gas that is imported by Egypt can bere-exported from the Mothballed Idku liquefaction terminal.

The import fromCyprus may help the Egyptian terminal to achieve closer to capacity productionin the facility. Currently, the Cypriot government is exploring theeconomically viable means through which the gas can reach the market. Benefits of LNG to Cyprus            LNG is currently being used incatering and heating elements of domestic consumption.

The discovery of thenatural gas in Cyprus will also bring a number of benefits, such as lower costsand cleaner energy. The government of Cyprus hopes to bring LNG to the countryby 2020. The other benefits include the diversification of the energy mix ofthe country. The country will be able to realise its energy goals byeliminating the energy isolation of the island, improve the energy supplysecurity, and also lead to cleaner energy that helps in reducing global warming(Fylaktos, 2013). Cyprus will; therefore, be able to meet its EU obligationsand goals towards the environment. Further, the LNG is also a prerequisite forthe electricity market liberalization. Furthermore, the LNG supply will alsohelp in the development of infrastructure such as the ports.

The ports willthen be used in the transportation of the LNG. Transmission and Distribution Authority in Cyprus            The Cyprus Regulatory Authority forEnergy (CERA) operationalised by the Natural Gas Market Law Regulation has anumber of responsibilities. They include the promotion of the development ofeconomically robust and efficient gas market; ensure safety, continuity in theprovision; and quality and efficiency in the supply of natural gas (CERA,2017). Transforming Cyprus into an Energy Exporting Country            The natural gas found in Israel andCyprus is positioned between high priced LNG markets of Asia and Europe.

Thenatural gas composition of the two countries is excellent thus require limitedprocessing. The benign weather in the two countries is also favorable for theproduction and transportation of the LNG (CERA, 2017). The current plans todevelop a world-class LNG hub at Vasilikos will provide Cyprus with anopportunity to undertake liquefaction of the natural gas from Israel andLebanon.

Conclusions            The’shale gas revolution’ in the United States created an oversupply of liquefiednatural gas. This led to downward pressure on gas prices across the globe. Newgas discoveries in deep water offshore East Africa and Eastern Mediterraneanare also likely to compete for LNG market share in growing European and Asiangas markets. Developing an LNG Terminal is the best option of exporting naturalgas to European and Asian markets for Cyprus.

The energy sector is a key areaof cooperation between the countries of the region which can also constitute aground of stability especially between Egypt, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Israel. Thedevelopment of the LNG hub will solve the Cyprus problem; thus, the gas couldbe exported to other countries. The LNG project development has the potentialto transforms Cyprus into a regional energy hub and energy and political bridgebetween EU and the Middle East CountriesBibliography