Here Is How Real-time Updates Transform The LNG Plant Monitoring

Here Is How Real-time Updates Transform The LNG Plant Monitoring

By Energy CIO Insights | Tuesday, September 24, 2019

LNG markets take up to a week to report incidents from the plant, and most of the times, no reports are filed too, even in case of outage occurrence. With the augmentation of satellite imagery and ML algorithms for monitoring the state of the plants, the real-time updates have changed the game. 

FREMONT, CA: The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant disruptions are first identified in real-time data generated by the satellite imaging, even before the news hit the market. The data on LNG released to the public lacks details, with liquefaction utilization rates rendering key real-time indicators.

Even if the company maintained reports of maintenance or technical disruptions, it is impossible to calculate the precise period of the issue or inactivity from the beginning to the end. The shifting trade flows, import/export levels, and spot prices depict the real impact of the operation on the ground. Newer techniques like satellite imaging to detect the on-the-ground warning signs may cause a differential impact on the market. These technologies are transforming the traditional LNG monitoring by providing components of prognosis such as maintenance schedules and outages before the effects are visible in the market. 

A significant player in the LNG market, proud of the variety it possesses and the number of plants is Qatar. They do not release the data on the maintenance periods and outages in plant publicly. Many on-the-ground disruptions that have the potential to impact the market can go unreported many times. 

A Paris-based technology firm detected outages in numerous trains in Qatar in real-time and generated actionable data immediately. Out of these, news of one outage was not reported until over one week later. The alternate technologies like processing of satellite imagery with augmentation of ML algorithms can be leveraged for solving the problems related to LNG. The data collected from these technologies and its combined potential can identify and record key LNG liquefaction indicators. Some indicators like thermal anomalies and flaring signals can be monitored to keep in check the status of the LNG plants, including the activity levels and outages alert. The tech boom has not only allowing detection, but it has also offered the chance to know about them before the issues hit the market. 

The extraction of data revolutions can soften the blows of abrupt market impacts. With additional tariffs levied on US LNG imports to China as a part of the US-China trade war, the unloading of US LNG ships in China has started to decline gradually. 

However, the satellite imaging technology, while monitoring reveals that the US liquefactions utilization rates, which is a key indicator of the production plants, displayed a rise even through the decline. This depicted that the country did not slow down its production despite the dwindling trade relations with China. 

Among the traders, the new technologies are a hit and have generated an enormous buzz. The immediate knowledge on the plants, especially the outages, maintenance, and restarts has impacted the physical supply chain of the gas, resulting in the search for replacement cargo. 

Technology has presented new opportunities to solve old problems in the LNG industry. As LNG continues to increase its market, the role of the natural gas producers, transportation providers, and even petrochemicals are transforming into a more prominent position. The new developments have created new avenues only by opening doors for new technologies to revolutionize the demands of monitoring for as long as it continues to grow.

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