A method of liquefying natural gas. The method comprises cooling a gaseous natural gas process stream with a refrigerant flowing in a path isolated from the natural gas process stream. The refrigerant may differ in composition from a composition of the natural gas process stream, and the refrigerant composition may be selected to enhance efficiency of the refrigerant path with regard to a specific composition of the natural gas process stream. The refrigeration path may be operated at pressures, temperatures and flow rates differing from those of the natural gas process stream. Other methods of liquefying natural gas are described. A natural gas liquefaction plant is also described.
 This invention was made with government support under Contract Number DE-AC07-05ID14517 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.