Global Energy Monitor

Inclusion Criteria

The Global Gas Infrastructure Tracker (GGIT) includes liquefied natural gas (LNG) import and export terminals and natural gas transmission pipelines. Distribution and gathering pipelines are not included. The aim of this dataset is to be comprehensive above the following capacity and length estimates. Gas pipelines with a capacity greater than 0.25 bcm/year or 24 MMcf/d are included. If a pipeline’s capacity isn’t available in our research, pipelines longer than 100 kilometers are included. Pipelines falling below these criteria are not included universally but are included in some cases, especially if they represent expansions to existing projects already in the database. There is no capacity threshold for LNG terminal inclusion.

Research Process

The GGIT’s data collection method involves professional research analysts searching government, industry, NGO, and general news sources for projects and information about their updates. Data points are recorded in tabular format for aggregate presentation and analysis. In-depth qualitative information is recorded in project-specific wiki pages and may include information relevant to the specific project: financing, environmental impacts, extraction sources, public opposition, aerial imagery, videos, links to permits, coordinates, pipeline route maps, etc.

Under standard wiki convention, we strive to link each piece of information to a published reference such as a news article, company report, or regulatory permit. Alternate names for projects are also recorded. For projects with names in other languages, we also attempt to record local language names. In order to ensure data integrity in the open-access wiki environment, professional research analysts also review all edits made to project wiki pages.

Data Updates

The components of GGIT are each updated twice a year, approximately every six months. LNG terminals and gas pipelines are updated on staggered schedules, and each release corresponds to the month and year that the updates were frozen. Data updates prioritize four steps, with a focus on recently completed or newly proposed gas infrastructure:

  • Verifying operational status, which involves researching whether construction has begun on proposed projects, or whether construction has been completed and operations have begun
  • Adding project updates, which involves updating projects in the Tracker with any recent qualitative news or data point changes that have occurred since the last data update
  • Adding new projects that were proposed or announced since the previous update
  • Adding missing projects that were missing from previous versions

Verifying Operational Status

During each update, every project with an operational status of “proposed”, “construction”, or “shelved” is researched to determine if the operational status has changed since the last update. If construction has begun on a project listed as “proposed”, the status is changed to “construction”. If a project listed as “proposed” has had no development updates in two years, the status is changed to “shelved”. If service has begun on a project listed as “construction”, the status is changed to “operational”. If a project listed as “shelved” has had no development updates in four years, the status is changed to “cancelled”.

Adding Project Updates

News articles and industry reports are used to update information about projects regardless of operational status. Examples include accidents and explosions, expansion projects, and project retirements. If an existing pipeline has a proposed expansion, either in its capacity or length, the expansion is added to the tracker database and to the project’s wiki page.

Adding New Projects

News articles, government websites, and industry sources are used to find projects that have been newly proposed since the last update.

Adding Missing Projects

News

Initially, a preliminary list of pipelines and LNG terminals was gathered from public data sources including industry, news, and government websites, and all projects were included. The list was then researched further to acquire additional data points and qualitative information about each project.

Currently, some missing pipeline projects are given research priority over others. Research priorities were established due to the extensive number of transmission pipelines in the world. Priority is defined by three factors:

  • In-development projects, defined as projects that are either proposed or under construction and are either new mainlines or expansions to existing mainlines, are always given research priority
  • Significant projects, defined as projects that have a capacity or length over the inclusion criteria defined above, are always given research priority
  • Recent projects, defined as projects that have an in-service start date in 2015 or later, are always given research priority

Currently, all LNG terminals with either import or export capacity are included in the GGIT.

Mapping

Pipeline routes are determined using publicly available information and maps, usually from industry sources or news publications. Pipeline routes are digitized either by visual approximation or by georeferencing route images in GIS software. If no publicly-available map is available, the pipeline’s route is approximated based on the written information available.

Terminal locations are approximated based on the written information available.

The Tracker’s public interface, including the map view, table view, and filtering mechanism, was developed by GreenInfo Network using the Leaflet Open-Source JavaScript library.

Data Summary Tables

At the end of every biannual data update, descriptive statistics are generated using Google Sheets and Python.

Pipeline Data Summary Tables

All data summary tables are broken down by infrastructure type and project status, and by either country, region, owner, or start year. Within these groups, the tables present either the total number of pipelines, the total pipeline kilometers, or the total pipeline capacity.

For pipelines with multiple owners listed, ownership percentage is assigned in equal shares unless specific share data were available at the time of research. Kilometer tables were calculated using the pipeline’s publicly available length, when possible. If no length value is publicly available, pipeline lengths are estimated with their route coordinates, using geospatial packages available in Python. Country and region tables were calculated by estimating the percentage of pipeline that falls within the exclusive economic zones of different countries, also using geospatial packages available in Python. Regions are defined by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook report.

LNG Terminal Data Tables

The LNG terminal data tables are organized by LNG import terminals and LNG export trains. All data tables are broken down by facility type (import terminal or export train) and project status, and by either country, region, owner, or start year. Within these groups, the tables present either the total number of projects or the total capacity.

Projects with multiple owners were prorated and assigned equal percentages unless specific ownership shares data were available. Regions are defined by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook report.

Data Dictionary

The following table provides data field definitions for the variables included in the Tracker’s table view and the data summary tables. These and additional variables are maintained in the GFIT’s data set.

VariableDefinition
Pipeline nameThe name of the pipeline or terminal, or of a larger project or pipeline system/network
Segment nameThe individual segment or expansion project of a given pipeline or LNG terminal, for projects that consist of multiple parts
CountriesThe country that the terminal or domestic pipeline is in, or the countries that an international pipeline passes through.
TypeThe type of infrastructure project. The current options for GGIT are: liquefied natural gas terminals and gas pipelines.
StatusFor each project, one of the following operational status categories is assigned and reviewed every six months:
1) Proposed: The item has been proposed but construction has not yet commenced.
2) Construction: Site preparation and other development and construction activities are underway.
3) Shelved: There has either been a public announcement that the sponsor is putting its plans on hold, or if there have been no reports of development activity over a period of two to four years, the project is presumed to be “shelved”.
4) Cancelled: In some cases a sponsor publicly announces that it has cancelled a project. More often a project fails to advance and then quietly disappears from company documents. A project that was previously in an active category is moved to “Cancelled” if it disappears from company documents, even if no announcement is made. Alternatively, a project is considered “cancelled” if there have been no indications of development over a period of four years.
5) Operating: The project has been formally commissioned or has entered commercial operation.
6) Idle: Construction has been completed, but it has not entered commercial operations and lacks any indication that it will. Alternatively, the project was at one time operational and now sits unused, but has not been formally mothballed.
7) Mothballed: The project has been formally taken offline, but not yet permanently retired.
8) Retired: The project has been permanently taken offline.
Start YearThe initial in-service year for operating, idle, mothballed, or retired projects. Or, the expected initial in-service year for proposed, construction, shelved, or cancelled projects.
OwnerThe organization(s) at the highest level of project ownership and their respective ownership percentage(s). If projects are owned or operated by subsidiaries, the subsidiaries may be listed in the project’s wiki page, but we attempt to include only the subsidiaries’ highest-level owners in the Tracker.
LengthThe pipeline’s length in kilometers. When a pipeline’s length is publicly available, that value is used. If no length value is publicly available then the pipeline’s length is estimated based on its route coordinates using geospatial packages within Python.
CapacityThe amount of product able to pass through the terminal or pipeline during a specified time-interval. The unit of measurement varies based on the type of product and infrastructure, so all terminal capacity values have been standardized to million tonnes per annum (mtpa). All gas pipeline capacity values have been standardized to billion cubic meters per year (bcm/y). When sources report a range, the maximum capacity value is used.

Data Quality

The amount and quality of available information varies widely between projects. Some variables are almost always available, such as the approximate location/route, the operational status, and the product type. Start year is the most frequently missing value in both pipelines and LNG terminals. However, the missing start year values for LNG terminals are almost exclusively missing from in-development projects. Capacity, owner, and pipeline length are also frequently missing. More data are missing from pipeline projects than from LNG terminal projects.

The percentage of missing data points are presented in the tables below by variable and project type. “Known length” refers to the pipeline’s length as reported by sources, whereas “Estimated length” refers to a pipeline’s length when estimated based on its route’s coordinates using Python’s geographic statistics packages.

Pipeline Data Quality

The January 2022 release of the Global Gas Infrastructure Tracker includes 2449 gas pipeline projects (including new pipelines and expansion projects). The following table shows the percentage of values missing from key variables by product type.

VariableGas Pipeline
Start country0 (0.0%)
Start country0 (0.0%)
Fuel0 (0.0%)
Project status0 (0.0%)
Start region0 (0.0%)
End region 0 (0.0%)
Estimated length16 (0.7%)
Known length499 (25.6%)
Owner385 (18.7%)
Capacity1036 (73.3%)
Start year963 (64.8%)

LNG Terminal Data Quality

The June 2021 release of the Global Gas Infrastructure Tracker LNG terminals database includes 1104 LNG terminal projects, including 561 import terminals and 543 export trains. The following table shows the percentage of values missing from key variables by infrastructure type.

VariableImport terminalsExport trains
Country0 (0%)0 (0%)
Facility type0 (0%)0 (0%)
Project status0 (0%)0 (0%)
Region0 (0%)0 (0%)
Owner22 (4.1%)5 (0.9%)
Capacity0 (0%)0 (0%)
Start year189 (50.8%) 143 (35.8%)

If you have questions about the Methodology or GGIT data set, please contact Baird Langenbrunner.