4 Dec 9 2010 @ 10:12am by Matt Smith in Crude Oil, Global Energy, Natural Gas

LNG, LPG, NGL, And The Etymology Of The Muppets

Whoa, whoa; hold your horses. I can tell you are already thinking ‘uh oh, I know where you are going with this one, burrito boy:  Kermit represents renewable fuels (green), Fozzie Bear represents US natural gas (bearish), while Gonzo represents algae biofuel (what is it exactly?!)’. But no, my friend; you are wrong. Inspired by a venn diagram of The Muppets, I have decided to tackle three of the more confusing acronyms in the energy world (of which there are many). So from the name etymology of The Muppets below, we will move on to see where the loyalties lie for our acronymed associates: in liquid or gas. Trust me, it’s as easy as L-N-G.

So the three acronyms in question are:

LNG = Liquefied Natural Gas
LPG = Liquefied Petroleum Gas
NGL = Natural Gas Liquid

What is LNG? It is natural gas that has been liquefied.
Why has it been liquefied? Because it is easier to transport and store in this form. Its volume is 600 times less as a liquid compared to its gaseous form. It is liquefied by cooling it to a temperature of -260 degrees Fahrenheit.
So is it is essentially gas? Yes; it is burned in its gaseous form, after being converted from a liquid through gasification.
Random Fact: LNG accounts for just under 1% of natural gas supply in the US.

What is LPG? A group of hydrocarbon-based gases derived from crude oil refining or natural gas fractionation. 
Once again in English? Propane is the poster boy for LPG. It is commercially sold, and is essentially used for heating. Basically, King of The Hill type stuff.
So it is a gas? Yes. But for convenience of transportation, it is liquefied through pressurization.
Random Fact: 5% of energy consumption in homes in the US comes from propane. 

What is NGL? Hydrocarbons in natural gas that are separated from the gas as liquids through the process of absorption, condensation, adsorption, or other methods in gas processing or cycling plants.
Once again in English? NGL is a mixture of components, the five main ones being ethane, butane, isobutane, propane and natural gasoline. It is not commercially sold, and is generally used to produce petrochemicals and plastics.  
So it is a gas! Yep. Same rules as LPG.
Random Fact:
NGL makes up 5% of total US petroleum consumption in 2009 (this number also excludes propane – included it would be 11%). 

Thus ends today’s meanderings. The key takeaway: when it comes to LNG, LPG, and NGL, if transported and stored it’s a liquid, but if used…it’s a gas!

4 Comments on this post:

  1. MM says:

    Propane is both an NGL and an LPG? So are LPGs a subset of NGLs? What is the distinguishing characteristic between the two?

  2. Matt Smith says:

    It is my understanding that propane is mostly referred to as an LPG, but can also be considered an NGL.

  3. Cesar says:

    And propane, most likely, when it is liquefied is considered an LNG….
    So, this is all to make it sound confusing… :)… In the end they are all gases with some sort of liquification….

  4. need some cookies says:

    Im a 3rd yr chemical engineering student currently working on design project…. and i found this helpful… φ(゜▽゜*)♪

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