Sustainable Energy

A huge liquefied natural gas project is being built off the coast of Australia

A huge liquefied natural gas project is being built off the coast of Australia

When natural gas is chilled, it becomes liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

LNG is a big deal in Australia, with the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association stating that it is "driving an unprecedented level of investment" in the country.

What's more, according to the International Gas Union, in 2016 Australia was the world's second largest exporter of LNG after Qatar, and had a 17.2 percent share of the market.

More than two hundred kilometers off the coast of Western Australia, a vast LNG project is taking shape and looking to further bolster Australia's status as an LNG powerhouse.

The Ichthys LNG Project stems from the discovery of the vast Ichthys gas and condensate field in the year 2000, a finding described by energy company Inpex as "the largest discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia in 40 years."

"LNG is a cooled version of natural gas," Chris Blackburn, an operations superintendent at Inpex, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy. "It's liquid, and with liquid the size of the fluid is much smaller. The gas form of LNG is 600 times bigger, so when it's smaller we can transport it and then re-gasify it for the market."

The scale of the project, which is under construction, is impressive. An 890 kilometer pipeline is set to transport gas and condensate from the field to onshore facilities near the northern city of Darwin.

Vince Kenny, Inpex's general manager for onshore construction, described the pipeline as being "the longest… in the southern hemisphere."

"The project itself will produce 8.9 million tonnes per annum of LNG, 1.6 million tonnes per annum of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), and approximately 100,000 barrels of condensate per day," Kenny went on to explain.