Where Gas in the UK Comes From and Why it Matters
It goes without saying that energy supply is vital to the western way of life. Everything in western society depends on energy in one form or another. From the water that we get in our taps, to our ability to cook meals quickly and even things that we take for granted, like automatic doors in grocery stores and automatic transmissions in cars as far as it is well concerned.
All of it depends on energy.
At present Britain is one of the world’s top energy consumers, with the bulk of that energy coming in the form of gas, that is consumed to produce electricity. 80% of homes in the UK are reliant on gas energy. So far it has not become a problem, however as global gas supplies decline and companies are being forced to work harder to find it, it is pertinent that the Western World seriously assess its use of gas.
Current Status of Gas in the UK
As stated before the UK is one of the world’s biggest consumers of gas, burning up a whopping 67 million cubic meters, which translates to 800 Terawatt hours per year. Note: 800 TWh is an approximate figure, the official number for 2015’s total consumption was 793 TWh (according to https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/gas-statistics).
At one point, the UK produced the majority of the gas that it consumed for domestic use. Since the year 2000 however, gas has been on a steady decline. As of 2015, the UK only produces 45% of the gas that is used domestically. The remaining gas quota is imported via pipelines from Europe (mostly Norway and Russia) and LNG tankers from varying countries.
How Gas Reaches Consumers
Gas arrives at the homes of people through a lengthy process that requires an immense amount of infrastructure. It begins firstly, with geologists mapping gas pockets under the ocean floor using a variety of technologies.
Unlike what most people believe, gas is not found in massive wells or pockets. Instead, it’s actually located in porous rocks that can be in some hard to reach places.
These rocks are located by a few primary means:
- Acoustic Pulses – These are fired into the rocks and their “echoes” are monitored for patterns that indicate the presence of gas.
- Gravitational Detection – It may sound like science fiction, but specially equipped planes are able to detect shifts in gravitational pull that indicated the possible location of gas rocks
- Formation Spotting – Geologists are also able to assess rock formations and deduce which ones are likely to contain gas.
Despite all of these detection methods, pockets sometimes turn up empty and efforts end up wasted. Once the gas is actually found, it goes through a number of processes to be refined, packaged and shipped to the appropriate countries. At which point it is distributed to companies that then handle delivery to direct consumers.
Impact of depleted Gas Supplies
The decline in gas supplies in the UK means that the very infrastructure that sustains our quality of life is under threat. 25% of the electricity used in homes is taken from plants that burn gas to generate electricity.
In addition, the fuel we use for our automobiles is also mostly gas. Transportation of goods, be it food, consumer products or medicine is almost entirely dependent on gas at present.
Measures Taken to Replenish Gas Supplies
There is a silver lining among the stormy skies, however. Measures can be taken to tackle our energy crisis from various angles, one of the primary means of addressing the issue is importing gas from other countries.
Energy companies have already begun taking this measure as discussed before. Alternative energy sources are also on the rise in the UK. Currently, renewable sources- such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and wave- currently produce 20% of the UK’s energy. The EU has recently set a target that mandates renewable energy sources increasing their market share to 30% of the UK’s energy needs.
The UK is a very energy dependent nation and care must be taken to ensure that the quality of life for its citizens remains at the same level or improves. Alternative energy sources are on the rise and will eventually (and hopefully) fulfill all of the UK’s energy requirements.
This is especially critical, considering that local gas supplies are dwindling and production becomes more difficult every year. If you want to find out where your company’s gas is coming from, contact your provider at http://www.energycustomerservice.co.uk/.