How Natural Gas Delivery Works

November 21st, 2012

If you’re considering switching from oil or propane heating to natural gas heating, it’s important you understand how the natural gas delivery system works. After all, as we approach the cold winter months in PA, you’ll want to select a heating system you understand well – and one that consistently heats your home without service disruptions (which can leave you and your family in the cold).

Pipelines are the most effective means of natural gas delivery, especially over long distances. Pipelines offer a means of moving natural gas quickly and efficiently. The American Gas Association (AGA) reports that 2.2 million miles of pipeline comprise the nation’s natural gas delivery system.

Natural Gas Delivery and Transmission Pipes

The first phase of the natural gas delivery process involves the exploration, drilling, and extraction of natural gas from the ground by production companies. Once natural gas is extracted from the ground and processed, it moves into the “transmission” system for long distance travel. The natural gas remains in motion through these underground transmission pipelines by a process known as “compression.” “Pumping stations” along the pipeline increase pressure on the gas to keep it moving at around 15 miles per hour.

Once the natural gas in the transmission pipelines reaches a populated region, it runs into a “city gate,” which is owned by the local gas distribution company. The gas pressure is then reduced and fed into smaller underground pipelines known as “main” and “service” lines.

Natural Gas Delivery and Distribution Pipelines

In the natural gas delivery process, distribution pipelines deliver natural gas directly to customers. The larger “main” lines feed into smaller service lines, which run under side streets and carry the gas to individual gas meters at homes, schools, offices, and factories.

Trust the Natural Gas Delivery System

The safety record of natural gas utilities is outstanding—and it continues to get better. Between 1986 and 2004, the amount of natural gas traveling through distribution pipelines increased by one-third and more than 650,000 miles of pipeline were added to the system. In the same time span, the number of reportable incidents on distribution pipelines decreased by 28 percent, according to the AGA. The AGA also reports that gas utility and pipeline companies spend close to $7 billion per year to ensure that natural gas is delivered safely and reliably. The nation’s most vital buildings all rely on natural gas delivery – the White House, the Pentagon, and the Capitol building all use natural gas as a heating source.

As a PA consumer, the natural gas delivery system offers you convenience and peace of mind. Since natural gas is delivered to your home via an underground pipeline, you’ll never have to worry about running out of fuel. Underground pipelines eliminate potential supply disruptions due to winter storms or power outages. This is something to really consider as wintertime approaches in PA.

UGI EnergyLink’s Role in Natural Gas Delivery

Like some other PA natural gas companies, UGI EnergyLink only buys your natural gas. Your local utility continues to own, operate, and maintain the natural gas delivery system in your neighborhood. With this in mind, UGI EnergyLink can take advantage of market opportunities unavailable to a regulated traditional utility company, such as offering customers the opportunity to choose their rate plan.

The natural gas delivery system is dependable, reliable, and able to transport natural gas to your home even during powerful winter storms. All you have to do to switch to our affordable natural gas service is fill out a simple enrollment form.