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GNL Quintero

GNL Quintero provides clean, efficient and safe energy to central Chile

Our company plays a fundamental role in the country's energy security.

We receive energy from multiple global sources and deliver it to Chilean homes and industries.

Our Terminal has the best available technology for receiving, storing and regasifying Liquefied Natural Gas.

We work in harmony with the environment, handling one of the cleanest and most efficient energy sources.

We comply with the highest safety standards in the design, construction and operation of our Terminal.

We put our energy to work for the development of Quintero and its people.

GNL Quintero is committed to Sustainability.

What is LNG?

LNG is natural gas converted into the liquid phase by cooling to a temperature of -160° Celsius. It is stored in liquid form at ambient pressure, occupying approximately 600 times less volume than in the gas phase. This allows the LNG to be transported safely and economically over considerable distances, without loss of its fundamental characteristics.

From natural gas to LNG

Natural gas is the product that GNL Quintero delivers to the market on conclusion of the whole production chain. It is a mixture of light hydrocarbons, containing more than 95% methane (CH4) and smaller proportions of ethane, propane, butane, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

The main feature of natural gas is that it is the purest and cleanest fossil fuel in existence.

  • It is cleaner. When it is burnt, it generates much lower emissions of particulate matter, sulphur oxides and greenhouse gases than other fossil fuels, making it an environmentally friendly fuel. Its purity also means that it requires less processing and generates lower emissions during production. These two aspects make it a preferred fuel for reducing emissions of CO2 and other elements.
  • It is harmless. If a spill should occur on land or at sea, the natural gas evaporates; because it is lighter than air (by 35 to 40 %), it would rise up into the atmosphere without leaving residues. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless. For this reason the distribution companies add a compound that has an odour (mercaptan) so that it can be detected by smell.
  • It is less flammable. Combustion occurs exclusively with the combination of three factors: the presence of oxygen; a natural gas concentration between 4.5% and 14.5%; and a source of heat intense enough to cause this mixture to ignite.

Sources of natural gas

Natural gas is derived from the decomposition of organic material deposited deep below the earth’s surface for millions of years.

The earth's heat and the high pressures below the surface transform the organic material into gas. This accumulates in subterranean rocks or remains trapped underground by solid rocks that prevent the gas from flowing, causing deposits to form.

Natural gas is often found together with oil, when it is called "associated" natural gas. It is called "non-associated" natural gas when it is accompanied by only small amounts of other hydrocarbons or gases.

After extraction, natural gas can be cooled to -160° Celsius to turn it into Liquefied Natural Gas. This is the product that arrives by ship at the GNL Quintero Terminal.

In recent years, technologies have been developed to recover natural gas from non conventional sources, such as:

  • Shale gas, is gas trapped in small cavities in barely permeable sedimentary rock formations like shale. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are used to reach and recover gas from this source.
  • Tight gas, is gas dispersed in sand or limestone formations with very low porosity. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are used to reach and recover gas from this source.
  • Coalbed methane is natural gas trapped by adsorption in the pores of coal. It is extracted by reducing the pressure of the water containing the gas in the coal seams or by cavitation, releasing the natural gas without extracting the coal.

Other non-conventional sources like natural gas hydrates or methane hydrates are not yet exploited commercially.

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