Industry Facts & Figures

Industry Structure

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Supplying gas and electricity to homes and businesses takes an industry covering every step in the energy chain.

Gas Exploration & Production: Sourcing Energy

Gas is extracted from wells under the sea using a drilling platform. 

Worldwide gas production in 2014 was 3460.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) - enough to supply the entire UK population for almost 53 years*.

*based on 2014 average usage

The sector employs around 32,000 people to find and bring this gas to the surface, with over three times as many jobs supported through the supply chain.

The industry encompasses large companies such as ConocoPhillips, Shell and Centrica down to small companies running a single well to extract gas.  Almost half of the gas used in the UK comes from wells in the seas around the British Isles.

For more information

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers:

Oil & Gas UK:

Processing & Storing Gas

Extracted gas is usually piped to refineries to be purified.

The gas may then be stored or pumped directly into the distribution network.

More on how gas is created.

Generating Electricity

Most electricity is generated at large power stations connected to the national transmission network.  However, electricity can also be generated by smaller scale power stations which are connected to regional distribution networks.

There are many companies in the electricity generation sector, from large multinationals to small, family-owned businesses running a single site.

The UK imports more electricity than it generates (DECC), with 3.9% of electricity supply coming from outside the UK in 2013, for example via the interconnector from France, which uses subsea cables to transport electricity between the British and French transmission systems.

More on how electricity is generated here.

The ‘Pipes and Wires’: Getting Gas & Electricity to your Home (UK)

Transmission and distribution networks

Energy suppliers pay to transport electricity and gas to homes around the country using the electricity networks and the gas grid.

National Grid runs the main gas transmission system as well as the electricity grid system across Great Britain, managing the flow of electricity across the entire network.

In the UK, the gas network alone comprises almost 170,000 miles of pipeline.

The main gas transmission system is a high pressure backbone running the length of the country, which is linked to gas grids in other countries and supplies large industrial users and power stations. 

For home use, gas is pumped from this high pressure network into local, low pressure networks –– connecting to the meter in your home which measures your usage – and ultimately flowing through to your boiler, as well as your cooker and fire, if they run on gas.

More on these pipes and wires here.

Retail Energy Suppliers (UK)

These are the companies that supply the gas and electricity to your home or business.

The UK energy market is highly competitive, with 25 separate energy suppliers serving homes in the UK, up from just 7 in 2010.

British Gas is the UK’s leading energy supplier, and is focused on delivering great service to around 11 million homes and thousands of businesses.

More on energy in your home here.

Energy Industry Regulator (Great Britain)

The electricity and gas markets in Great Britain are regulated by Ofgem.Ofgem Logo

Ofgem is a non-ministerial government department and an independent National Regulatory Authority, recognised by EU Directives.  The regulator’s principal objective is to protect the interests of existing and future electricity and gas consumers.

Read more here.

Useful Links

Energy UK LogoEnergy UK

Energy UK is the trade association for the UK energy industry representing over 80 suppliers and generators of electricity and gas for domestic and business consumers.


DECC LogoThe Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

DECC is the government department responsible for making sure that the UK has secure, clean, affordable energy supplies and promote international action to mitigate climate change.

The department maintains a useful library of statistics on energy consumption, use and regulation:

Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES)                                                                                               


ENA LogoEnergy Networks Association (ENA)

The ENA is the voice of the networks, representing the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.


EIA LogoThe U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

The U.S. EIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.                                

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