How sustainable is liquefied natural gas supply chain? An integrated life cycle sustainability assessment model
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Integrating sustainability into the distribution network process is a significant problem for any industry hoping to prosper or survive in today's fast-paced environment. Since gas is one of the world's most important fuel sources, sustainability is more important for the gas industry. While such environmental and economic effects have been extensively researched in the literature, there is little emphasis on the full social sustainability of natural gas production and supply chains in terms of the triple bottom line. This research aims to perform the first hybrid life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) of liquefied natural gas and evaluate its performance from the natural gas extraction stage to LNG regasification after delivery through maritime transport carriers. LCSA is used for estimating the social, economic, and environmental impacts of processes, and our life cycle model included the multi-region input–output analysis, Aspen HYSYS, and LNG maritime transport operations sustainability assessment tools. The results spot the light on the most contributors of CO2-eq emission. It is found that LNG loading (export terminal) is the source that generated the highest carbon footprint, followed by the MDEA sweetening unit with the contribution of 40% and 24%, respectively. Socially, around 73% of human health impact comes from SRU and TGTU units which are the most contributors to the particulate matter emission. Based on the interpretation of life cycle results, the environmental indicators show better performance in the pre-separation unit and LNG receiving terminal representing a sustainability factor equal to 1. In terms of social and economic impacts, the natural gas extraction stage presents the best performance among all other stages, with a sustainability factor equal to 1. Based on this study's findings, an integrated framework model is proposed. Various suggestions for sustainability strategies and policies that consider business sustainability and geopolitics risk are presented.