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The Natural Gas Chain  
 
   
Production  

Gas is extracted from underground gas fields and treated before being sent by pipelines to the transmission networks or by LNG vessels to the regasification terminals.

image courtesy of Gassco
   
> Onshore production: gas is extracted from underground gas fields and is treated in order to ensure an acceptable gas quality.
   
> Offshore production: gas is extracted from underground offshore gas fields and is treated in order to ensure an acceptable gas quality.
   
> Liquefaction plant: Natural gas is converted to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by cooling it to -160° C, at which point it becomes liquid. This process reduces its volume by about 600 times.
   
> Gas field: Natural gas is found in sedimentary deposits often several thousand metres deep.
   
> LNG vessel: special ship capable of transporting up to 266.000 cubic metres of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) at -160° C.
   
> Upstream pipeline: Underground or undersea gas pipelines used for the transportation of natural gas from production fields to transmission networks.
The Natural Gas Chain - animation
The Natural Gas Chain
Click on the image to start the animation
     
Regasification   Storage

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is unloaded in LNG Terminals where it is stored in special tanks before being regasified and injected into the transmission network.

image courtesy of Fluxys
   
> Jetty: the LNG vessels are moored at a dock, where LNG is transferred to storage tanks using unloading arms (articulated pipes).
   
> Storage tanks: huge containers specially designed to store LNG at -160° C before regasification.
   
> Vaporisers: Equipment where LNG is heated to about 0 °C when it returns to its gaseous form. This process increases its volume by about 600 times.
   
> Grid connection: Connection to the transmission system where natural gas is metered.
   
 

Gas is injected and stored in underground reservoirs to be withdrawn from and re-injected into the transmission system according to gas demand.

image courtesy of Astora
   
> Reservoir: Natural gas can be stored in aquifers, salt caverns and depleted gas reservoirs.
   
> Wells: Gas is injected into the underground reservoir or withdrawn to the surface by wells drilled in the ground.
   
> Grid connection: Connection to the transmission system where natural gas is metered.
   
> Compressors:Engines used to increase the pressure of natural gas allowing it to be injected into the underground storage.
   
> Gas treatment: Process used to eliminate residual water, sulphur or other impurities from gas withdrawn from underground storages.
     
Transmission   Distribution
Gas is transported from the production areas to the end consumers by underground pipelines.


image courtesy of OMV
   
> Pipelines: Underground gas pipelines arranged in a network for the transportation of natural gas between LNG Terminals, upstream pipelines, storages and distribution networks and end users.
   
> Delivery point: Pressure reduction station where gas is metered and supplied to end customers or distribution system operators.
   
> Odorisation:  Mixing odourless natural gas with an odorant to enable detection of gas leaks.
   
> Metering: Measurement of quantity of gas and energy flow through a pipeline.
   
> Compressors: Engines used to increase the pressure of natural gas allowing it to flow through a pipeline. Compression stations are installed regularly in a pipeline network in order to maintain the right pressure.
  Gas is distributed to residential and small industrial end consumers and other users by underground distribution networks.

image courtesy of Gasum
   
> Distribution pipelines: Small-diameter and low-pressure underground gas pipelines arranged in a network for the transportation of natural gas from the transmission network to end consumers.
   
> Gas meters: Devices measuring the quantity of gas delivered to end consumers.