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LNG & Safety
The excellent safety record of LNG worldwide is a result of proven and detailed industry standards, strong regulations, and an industry commitment to risk management. For all LNG facilities, multiple layers of protection are implemented to minimize the likelihood of an LNG release and, if a release occurs, to mitigate the consequences. While the specific language varies throughout the world, there are five primary layers of protection that LNG operators implement to ensure the safe production, transportation, storage, and regasification of LNG as illustrated in the Figure below – Multiple Safety Layers. Industry standards and regulatory compliance create a comprehensive safety framework within which each protective layer functions to create a safe operational environment for LNG facilities.
Industry Standards, Regulatory Compliance and Codes
The foundation of all layers is a comprehensive safety framework within which each protective layer functions to create a safe operational environment for LNG facilities. LNG facilities and ships are government-regulated and required to follow protocols intended to assure safe operations. Sharing best practices and standards through non-profit trade organisations has served to strengthen the safety environment of the entire industry. Strict adherence to such government regulations, codes, and standards has led to the LNG industry’s exemplary safety record.
The first and most important requirement for the LNG industry is safety. A primary safety requirement is to maintain operational integrity and effectively contain LNG. This is accomplished by employing suitable materials for storage tanks and equipment, and by appropriate engineering design throughout the value chain.
This third layer of protection ensures that, if leaks or spills occur in the unlikely event that primary containment is breached, the LNG will be contained and isolated. This is usually accomplished through additional tank containment, impoundments and berms, and engineering the site to contain liquid and vapor releases within the facility boundaries.
Operational Integrity and Protocols, Operator Knowledge, Training and Experience
The safe processing, storage, and transportation of LNG begins with hiring and training qualified personnel, and defining protocols which meet and, in specific cases exceed, the requirements of regulations, codes and standards. The integrity of operations is also assured by implementing industry best practices and experience, both of which are shared through industry organisations.
Safeguard Systems, Separation Distances, Planning and Exercises
The goal of the final layer of protection is to minimize any release of LNG and mitigate potential adverse impacts. To achieve this level of safety protection, LNG facilities depend upon technological systems such as gas, liquid and fire detectors to rapidly identify any breach in containment in conjunction with remote and automatic fail-safe, shut-off, and control systems. Additionally, Emergency Response Plans are developed and exercised routinely at LNG import terminals. These combined controls minimize leaks and spills in the case of a failure. As a further precaution, industry standards and regulations generally require that LNG facilities be located at a safe distance from adjacent industrial facilities, communities and other public areas and that the plant, equipment and buildings are suitably spaced.
For more information on LNG and Safety, you are invited to read the information paper below: