FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your questions

What is liquefied natural gas?

Liquefied natural (LNG) is natural gas cooled to -162oC, which changes it from a gaseous to a liquefied state. LNG is a clear, transparent liquid that is odourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. It is stored under normal pressure in a virtually impenetrable double shell tank.

What is the main difference between traditional natural gas and LNG?

The main difference between natural gas and liquefied natural gas is the physical state of the product. LNG is essentially natural gas that becomes a liquid when cooled to a temperature of -162oC. In its liquid form, the volume of LNG is reduced 600-fold compared to natural gas in its gaseous state, which makes it possible to transport, store and distribute it in large quantities. 

What is Quebec’s interest in having access to LNG?

In Quebec, only regions served by the existing pipeline distribution network have access to natural gas.

The production of LNG therefore enables businesses without access to the natural gas pipeline to receive LNG via tanker ship, train or truck.

LNG offers these customers who are not served by the existing natural gas distribution network an alternate source of energy that is less expensive and cleaner than diesel and fuel oil.

By replacing these petroleum products, which are sources of airborne contaminants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and various particulates, LNG helps businesses appreciably improve their environmental record.

Why have you chosen Bécancour as the site of your natural gas liquefaction plant?

• The Bécancour Waterfront Industrial Park is served by the Trans Québec & Maritimes Pipeline, which will supply the plant with natural gas;
• Its deep water port and two jetties are accessible year round;
• The site selected is close to the port and jetty;
• The Park offers a buffer zone between the site and residential areas;
• The Park authorities have implemented excellent industrial services;
• The Bécancour region is home to a highly-skilled workforce.

How will the LNG be transported to the various customers of SLNGaz?

SLNGaz will transport LNG to its customers primarily via small tanker ships of approximately 150 m in length, or the size of the tankers commonly used on the river. It may also sometimes be distributed via refrigerated, double-hulled trucks, a very safe small-scale distribution method that has been used in Norway for more than a decade. 

By comparison, the large LNG carriers that were planned for the Rabaska project and those currently used in the U.S. have a capacity eight times greater than this (150,000 m3 compared to 10,000 m3 to 20,000 m3 for SLNGaz). 

Will adding these tanker ships not drastically increase maritime traffic on the St. Lawrence River?

No. We estimate that a maximum of 3 SLNGaz carriers per week will travel the St. Lawrence. The impact will therefore be negligible.

How will SLNGaz ensure that it generates genuine social and economic benefits for the Bécancour region?

SLNGaz intends to ensure that the Bécancour region benefits greatly from the implementation of the LNG liquefaction plant.

This notably includes the company’s plan to do business with local goods and services suppliers, to offer quality jobs to people in the region, and to play an active role in the social and economic life of Bécancour and its surroundings.

You can follow all of the actions we will be taking in this respect by consulting our website and social media pages.

Does your promotion of the increased use of natural gas in Quebec not run counter to the government’s goal to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels?

On the contrary. Replacing such polluting energy sources as fuel oil with natural gas will appreciably reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by Quebec businesses.

In its report, the Commission sur les enjeux énergétiques du Québec recommends that the Quebec government promote the phasing out of coal and heavy fuel oil and the replacement of these energy sources with natural gas in industrial applications where the use of electricity or biomass would not be competitive. The Quebec government therefore views the LNG industry as a viable transition towards less dependence on fossil fuels.

Indeed, the LNG production and distribution project in Bécancour will offer Quebec industries not served by the existing Gaz Métro distribution network this much cleaner energy source.

What measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of Bécancour residents should an accident occur at the plant?

LNG liquefaction plants such as the one that SLNGaz will build are among the safest in the world.

LNG is stored at normal atmospheric pressure in a double tank composed of a first internal stainless steel shell, covered by a thick isolation sheet and a second, almost 1-metre thick external shell made of reinforced concrete. This type of double reinforced tank is virtually impossible to damage.
In addition, the safety record of the Norwegian LNG plants, which will serve as our model, is impeccable.

That being said, the Bécancour plant will adhere to and, wherever possible, exceed the highest quality standards in the industry for the production, storage and handling of LNG (CSA code Z276).

Located in the heart of the Bécancour Waterfront Industrial Park, the SLNGaz plant will also be built at a safe distance from the nearest homes.

And finally, SLNGaz personnel will be trained to manage all types of incidents or accidents that could occur on the site.

SLNGaz will join the CMMI (comité mixte municipalités industries or joint municipality/industry committee), which is responsible for managing risks in the City of Bécancour region. In this way, the company will be able to draw on the experience of the committee and the existing communication structure between local stakeholders and the public with respect to risk management.

The technological risk analysis has shown that the consequences of all of the accident scenarios evaluated would be confined to within the perimeter of the facilities. No dwellings or residential area would be affected should an accident occur.

Throughout the project’s life cycle, the risks will be identified and re-evaluated to ensure that the optimal prevention, mitigation and control measures are in place.

A harmonized emergency measures plan will also be developed and introduced in close collaboration with all of the applicable authorities and stakeholders.

What would the impact be if a spill were to occur during the handling of LNG or its transport to customers?

LNG is transparent, odourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. When exposed to the environment, LNG reverts to its gaseous state and rapidly evaporates into the atmosphere, leaving no residue on water or soil.

That being said, it is worthwhile reiterating that liquefied natural gas cannot explode. However, should a leak or spill occur, the LNG will revert to a gaseous form, and the natural gas cloud could explode if in a concentration of 5 to 15% in the ambient air, if it is in a congested or confined area that maintains this concentration, and if there is an ignition source is present.

It is also important to note that because the equipment and processes are outdoors, there is very little likelihood that an LNG leak or spill could occur in a confined area.

SLNGaz has implemented an entire series of measures to contain the LNG in tanks during its storage, handling, transport and distribution to customers.

Should an LNG leak occur during a transfer, for example, this would become immediately apparent due to the water vapour that would be visible as the LNG heats up in the atmosphere, and it can be quickly halted. Here again, if such a leak were to happen, the natural gas would rapidly evaporate into the atmosphere.

It should be kept in mind that Norway has enjoyed an enviable safety record in this regard for more than 10 years.

With respect to transporting LNG via tanker ship, three small spills have been recorded during loading and unloading operations. In addition, a carrier had a minor collision with the wharf during a docking manoeuvre, but no spill occurred.

No LNG spill has occurred from storage tanks.

With respect to the transport of LNG by truck, after more than 40,000 loading and unloading operations, just one transfer hose rupture has been recorded. The result: a spill of just 2 litres of LNG, which quickly evaporated into the atmosphere.

Two delivery trucks also experienced road accidents, with no LNG spilled.