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Industry Structure

Who Does What?

From the point at which gas is discovered there are many parties involved in its production and transportation before the point of use.

Exploration and Production

In the first instance exploration companies operating all around the world find gas beneath the ground and extract it to the surface. Historically the UK has received its supplies from producers operating in the North Sea who pump the gas in subsea pipelines to reception points around the UK. More recently the UK has began importing more Liquefied Natural Gas which is produced in locations where it is not economically viable to pump the gas by pipeline.

Going forward, the UK may also start receiving supplies from onshore production e.g. shale gas or biomethane. For more information see IGEMs Research webpages.

Delivery Facility Operators

Delivery Facility Operators recieve gas and ensure it is within given parameters for transportation.

Gas Transporters (GTs)

GTs own and operate the pipelines between the delivery facilities and the Emergency Control Valve (ECV) (See IGEM/G/1). GTs are licensed by Ofgem and operate in accordance with a "Network Code". GTs charge Gas shippers for the transportation of Natural Gas - the rate at which depends on various factors such as where the gas enters/leaves and the pressures involved.

National Grid is the largest GT and also owns the National Transmission System (NTS) - which transports gas between delivery facilities and distribution Networks. The other main GTs are Northern Gas Networks, Scotia Gas Networks and Wales and West Utilities. There are a number of other localised GTs, all of whom are represented by the Association of Independent Gas Transporters (AIGT).    

Gas Shippers

Gas Shippers purchase gas from producers and are charged by GTs to transport gas to the consumer, who the gas is sold to. Ofgem issues licenses to shippers to enable them to make arrangements with the GTs.

Gas Suppliers

Gas Suppliers take gas from shippers, and bill the consumer for the gas which is passed through the consumer's primary meter. This activity is licensed by Ofgem.

Ofgem

Ensure that consumers are protected by promoting competition and regulating the monopoly companies in charge of the Gas Network. This is achieved through licensing various activities - more information can be found on their website

Utility Infrastructure Providers (UIPs)

UIPs will design and construct gas mains and services on behalf of a developer and arrange for the pipelines to be transferred to GT ownership upon completion. They may also carry out other infrastructure services. 

Gas Conveyors

Gas Conveyors are a special type of GT. For further information see IGEM/G/1

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