If natural gas producers could ship liquified natural gas (LNG) by rail — would they, or could they?
That’s no longer a rhetorical question following the June 19 ruling by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Department of Transportation authorizing the bulk transportation of LNG by rail. The ruling complies with the April 2019 presidential executive order “Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth.”
The ruling opens a path to ship LNG by rail, but it's not smooth, yet. On paper economics appear to work. A 2019 study commissioned by PHMSA. showed that shipping LNG by rail could be 33% cheaper than shipping by truck. But all the infrastructure needed to support rail shipments -- loading and unloading racks; rail sidings, storage track and other connecting tracks; even tank cars -- needs to be funded and built.