Laboratory Management How LIMS Ensures Product Quality for Natural Gas

Author / Editor: Colin Thurston / Dr. Jörg Kempf

Natural gas production is a complex undertaking – Especially when the whole gas production, refining and liquefaction process has to be carried out at the high seas. Offshore productions, like Shells giant FLNG–facility, need a Laboratory Management Information System that can keep up with this challenge.

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Managing laboratory and process data is essential for any LNG process.
Managing laboratory and process data is essential for any LNG process.
(Picture: Thermo Fisher Scientific)

Accessing, producing and transporting natural gas is a complex undertaking. The facilities charged with harvesting natural gas typically operate by transporting natural gas via pipelines to a production facility, converting it to liquefied natural gas (LNG) using a cooling process and shipping it to customers around the world. Given the many steps involved with these operations, many modern LNG facilities, are backed by state-of-the-art laboratories that constantly analyze output content and product quality. A Laboratory Management Information System (LIMS) is an essential tool for managing the large quantity of data generated by these laboratories during the process of extracting and refining natural gas.

Laboratory Management Essential Step for Natural Gas Facilities

All LNG facilities, regardless of location, must comply with local environmental, health and safety regulations. Adherence to these ever-tightening regulations requires the ability to accurately and securely capture, store, track and analyze large quantities of data. The laboratory must also perform quality testing of gas, process monitoring at plants, testing at upstream facilities as well as environmental monitoring across the plant facilities. The plant’s laboratory must provide real-time, round-the-clock, consistent analytical services, results and advice in a timely, accurate and reliable manner.


Many laboratories supporting LNG facilities have moved away from cumbersome paper-based and/or manual systems and replaced them with flexible data management solutions, such as a LIMS. These laboratories have well-defined procedures for essential quality control work as well as resource management and production of reports that certify the product quality. A LIMS can manage the workload and integrate with laboratory instrumentation results as well as oversee all sampling and testing, monitoring field operations and plant processes, measuring product specification, quality testing and monitoring environmental adherence.

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Understanding the Laboratory Process for Offshore Gas Production

A typical LNG laboratory provides analytical services to the LNG facilities. This includes generating analytical reference data for product quality and custody transfer invoicing, calibration of in-line process analyzers, plant performance, equipment condition and environmental monitoring. It may also provide expert advice and data on LNG and Sales Purchase Agreements (SPAs) as well as plant troubleshooting and ad-hoc laboratory services to other pipelines, offshore platforms or facilities.