Natural Gas Uses


  • Gas is a vital part of our economy providing heat, electricity and raw materials

  • With North Sea gas production declining the UK will become dependent on foreign sources

  • Natural gas is a vital feedstock in the manufacturing sector


It is nearly impossible to get through a day without using multiple products that contain oil and gas

Natural gas currently provides more than 84% of our heating needs and around 40% of our electricity generation.

Oil and natural gas provide the energy source or raw material to make a wide range of products and plastics. In fact, it is nearly impossible to get through a day without using multiple products that started off either as oil or gas. Shampoo, toothpaste, contact lenses, shaving foam, lipstick, washing powder and clothing all contain petroleum products.

The majority of the UK’s domestic sources of natural gas have historically come from the North Sea since the early 1960s, with only about 1.5% coming from onshore. As the amount of gas coming from the North Sea is expected to decline significantly, by 2030 the UK will be buying at least 70% of its gas from outside the UK.

Sources of UK Gross Gas Imports in 2018

Pipeline Norway




Pipeline Netherlands


LNG Qatar


LNG Russia




LNG other (Egypt, Peru, Algeria)


Gas is also important for balancing out the increasing levels of intermittent and inflexible low-carbon energy on the system. Gas generation therefore will continue to play a vital role in the UK’s generation mix for many years to come. As a result, the amount of gas capacity we will need to call on at times of peak demand will remain high.

The Government has put in place a strategy to try to reduce our reliance on natural gas for heating but this will take many years to develop as it involves not only new technologies but also modifications in behaviour.

Gas, and therefore shale gas, has a major part to play in bridging the gap between the current system and any future low carbon technologies.

Gas is vital to our manufacturing sector

Gas Used by Industry in 2018





Food & Beverages


Mineral Products


Mechanical Engineering


Other Industry






Paper & Printing


Iron & Steel


Non-ferrous Materials


Electrical Engineering


Textiles & Leather


The UK energy-intensive and petrochemicals sectors require certainty that energy and feedstocks will be secure and competitive in the medium term. Without that certainty it is likely that these sectors will decline, reducing our manufacturing capacity further.

However, if shale develops positively then the prospects for manufacturing to build and grow on the current significant UK supply infrastructure are good.

Natural gas is also a key component in the manufacture of fertilisers. The Haber-Bosch process uses natural gas to provide hydrogen, which is combined with nitrogen in air as part of the process to create ammonia.

Ammonia is a vital ingredient for other nitrogen based fertilisers, and with up to 90% of the costs of the fertiliser coming from natural gas, a cheap supply is essential for its production. By providing cheaper, domestically sourced fertilisers, the agriculture industry has the potential to provide cheaper food and more local jobs.


Gas imports - Physical imports and exports of gas (DUKES G.5)
Gas Used by Industry - Supply and consumption of natural gas and colliery methane (DUKES 4.2)


Gas is used to produce 80% of our heating and around 30% of our electricity



By 2030 the UK will be getting most of its gas from outside the country