Natural Gas

Recently I received a letter from Gas Natural Fenosa with my itemized bill. This fact leads me to think that could be interesting to write a post about natural gas with the aim to acquire a deeper knowledge of it as it is something present in my life and I supposed that most of you also have natural gas in your homes.

First of all, it is a well-known fact that it is treated of a fossil energy found in the subsoil of earth and comes from the decomposition of organic material. Natural gas is composed by a mixture of gases in variable proportions in which more than 70% is methane and the remainder part can be constituted by nitrogen, carbon dioxide and ethane. The general process of obtainment of this gas starts with the exploration of the soil followed by an evaluation, extraction, purification and liquefaction. In addition, the costs associated with these activities suffer a reduction thanks to the technologic advances.  Therefore, are needed drilling rigs that reach the strata where the deposits are located to extract the gas.

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Figure 1 & 2. Natural gas chain

Another important aspect of the natural gas is the transportation from the production zones to the ones of consume. It can take place through pipelines when is in gas state or ships, in liquid state, when the distance is bigger or is not possible to install a pipeline. This fact increase the diversity of supply sources due it makes possible the gas supplying from remote reserves. Then, the content of ships is downloading in the plant tankers for its posterior regasification and injection in the pipeline network or for its charge and transportation in cistern trucks to satellite plants which allows natural gas regasification and supply exclusively to a client or to a specific area. Therefore, it can be observed that the pipeline network has the advantage that allows a fast, secure and efficient transport. However, distance has a greater impact on this way of transport so when it is higher, ships become a more economic and efficient option. Regarding gas storage, the most common way of this is by underground storage due it presents the advantage of capacity because use the compressibility of gas at low depths to increase the volume of stored gas. Furthermore, natural gas can be stored in already exploited deposits, aquifers, salt caverns and mines.

Taking all this into account, it can be summarized that the logistics management of natural gas involves planning, programming and tracking of the activities of supplying, regasification, transportation, distribution and storage which makes possible the supplying of gas to the final customer. In addition, another important piece of its management is the variety of actives and infrastructures (pipelines, regasification plants, storage, etc.) and the use conditions related with these such as regasification capacity, transport, distribution and storage with operation thresholds.

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