Delivering Europe’s energy needs: gas infrastructure
It’s a cold December Sunday morning.
You just woke up, made yourself some nice breakfast and coffee on the stove. It was a bit chilly overnight, but now you raised the thermostat temperature to a comfortable level. You can go ahead and take that nice and warm shower without being afraid of freezing when you come out of it.
If you’re one of the millions of Europeans who use natural gas appliances at home, you can thank natural gas for ensuring your water is hot, your coffee is ready to brew any given morning, and your house stays warm in the winter. But have you ever wondered where that gas actually comes from, and how it’s delivered to you?
After gas is produced at the well, whether in Europe or abroad, it’s transported through a complex and well-developed gas infrastructure system that travels into and around Europe. Gas is propelled at a high pressure of 200 to 1500 lbs. per square inch (psi) through an extensive network of steel pipelines, with a typical diameter of 1,2 meters, with engine-powered compressors keeping the gas moving, making its way into storage or entering city gates. Finally, distribution lines carry natural gas to consumers.
Since Europe’s gas infrastructure has been in place for decades and moving and storing gas is relatively cheap (compared to electricity for example), this accessibility is something many of us with easy access to the gas grid take for granted. However, these pathways require permanent attention, modernization, and linkage. Continuing to develop European gas infrastructure is essential for ensuring Europe’s security of supply, your security of supply, and giving you access to cheaper energy.
For that purpose, the European Commission has acknowledged that developing gas infrastructure is essential to effectively integrating the different energy markets. Throughout the gas chain, thousands of Europeans are working every day to maintain, improve and further develop this infrastructure to ensure gas is delivered to our homes – safely and with no harm to the environment.
Believe it or not, gas and its supply to European energy consumers is one of the biggest topics of discussion in Brussels these days. Looking ahead, the Commission has ambitious plans for gas infrastructure as part of its Energy Union package. We support the Vice-President Šef?ovi?’s recognition of gas’ key role in the European energy mix, because everyone needs hot water. And coffee. It’s really that simple.