We live in an age where we are heavily reliant on fossil fuels for energy to heat, light and operate equipment in our homes and businesses.
In typical household situations, electric is often the fuel source for lights and and appliances. Gas is commonly used for heating (boilers and gas fires), hot water, or in cooking through a gas hob or oven. However, not all areas of the country benefit from access to the national gas network due to physical distance from gas mains. Distances of more than 100 meters from gas mains can quickly created costs of gas connections in the tens of thousands of pounds.
Natural gas was discovered under the North Sea in 1965 which sparked a revolution in the availability and popularity of gas in homes and businesses throughout the UK. A gas network has formed over time spanning the length and breadth of the country connecting millions of properties.
As a fuel, gas is one of the cleanest fossil fuels with minimal pollution created in the burning process. It is easily transported through pipes or bottles. Gas is sourced from places around the UK including Morecambe Bay and the North Sea. Gas enters the gas pipe network at entry points where it is brought ashore from fields below the sea. There are a few LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) terminals in the UK where gas can be shipped in from abroad by boat where the gas is cooled and compressed and turned into a liquid before being transported on the oceans. Once the ship docks, the fuel is then heated to turn it into a gas again and can be introduced into our grid.
Our national network of gas pipes connect under the sea to foreign countries including Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland so our gas can come from our own waters or further afield, potentially as far away as from Russia (one of the world’s largest gas exporters).
Compared to using oil or electric, gas may be more economical when comparing gas bills. Gas can be stored and compressed which is ideal whereas electricity must be created and supplied at the exact time of requirement or power cuts can occur. Gas may sometimes be more easily controlled (imagine an electric hob versus a gas hob). Oil is heavy and has to be transported on a lorry which is more expensive than gas.
Our hunger for gas continues to grow even though world resources diminish and prices of gas continue to rise.