The Science behind Gas
Where does gas come from and how does it get to our homes?
Natural gas is a fossil fuel, like coal and oil. Fossil fuels were formed hundreds of millions of years ago and are found underground and under the ocean floor.
Once gas is located under the ground, wells are drilled and gas is brought up from the resevoirs to the surface through pipes.
Huge networks of pipes bring gas to us from the wells.
Large pipes take gas to power plants to make electricity and to factories and businesses.
From these large pipes, the gas travels to smaller pipes and is brought to our homes.
As gas passes into our homes, it travels through a meter which measures the amount of fuel we use.
The meter is then read by the gas company and we are charged for the amount we have used.
Gas is used for cooking if you have a gas stove, powering the boiler for your central heating and heating up your water.
Where Does the UK get its Gas From?
Britain used to get all its gas from the North Sea and even once exported gas to Europe from these supplies. This is now changing though with our own North Sea supplies dwindling Britian now imports 10% of its gas supply.
This comes through pipelines across Europe linked to Norfolk from Belgium and also a small amount comes in as liquefied gas via a terminal in Kent.
As the North Sea supplies continue to decrease, our gas imports will rise. It is estimated that by 2010, 50% of our gas will be imported and by 2020 the North Sea will only supply us with 10%.
Action is being taken to handle this increase in imports with the pipeline from Belgium being upgraded to supply 15% of our gas by the end of the year. There is also a new pipeline planned from Holland the UK, bringing across 10% of our gas supply. A larger pipeline from Norway is also being planned which will transport 16% of our gas supply. As well as these pipelines, a new import terminal is being built in Milford Haven for LNG from Qatar. By 2007 this will represent 20% of our gas supply.