POST - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Future of Natural Gas in the UK

Published Monday, November 16, 2015

UK shale gas exploration and efforts to mitigate climate change have stimulated debate about the future of the natural gas sector. This briefing looks at potential future pathways for the sourcing and use of natural gas in the UK. It also considers the implications for the economy, energy prices, the reliability of energy supplies and efforts to cut emissions.

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  • In 2014, the UK imported 45% of its gas.
  • The Government plans to boost UK natural gas production to prevent or minimise falls in gas-related jobs, tax and investment.
  • To stay within globally agreed climate change limits some existing gas reserves will likely need to go unused. This raises questions about new UK gas exploration.
  • Burning natural gas produces lower greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal or oil. Switching to gas can help to meet short-term emission targets for power generation, heating and transport.
  • However, installing too many new gas-using units may create barriers to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the long term.
  • Most long-term gas use depends on the use of carbon capture and storage or biogas.

POSTnotes POST-PN-0513

Authors: Aaron Goater; Claire Copeland

Topics: Climate change, Electricity, Energy, Oil, petrol and natural gas, Renewable energy, Utilities

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The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.