National Transmission System

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

National Transmission System is the United Kingdom's network of natural gas pipelines that supply both commercial and residential consumers.


The network extends throughout the United Kingdom.[1]

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Project Details

  • Operator: National Grid[1]
  • Current capacity:
  • Length: 7,650.36 km / 4,753 miles[1]
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 1962

Project Details: Hydrogen-ready Conversion

  • Operator: National Grid[1]
  • Owner: National Grid[1]
  • Parent company: National Grid[1]
  • Capacity:
  • Length: 703 km
  • Diameter: 48 in
  • Status: Proposed[2]
  • Start year: 2030[3]
  • Cost:


The National Transmission System (NTS) started with the construction of the 200 mile (320 km) long high-pressure methane pipeline from Canvey Island to Leeds in 1962 to 1963. Imported liquified natural gas (LNG) from Algeria was regasified at the Canvey terminal and supplied to the pipeline, this provided eight of the twelve Area Boards with access to natural gas. The gas was initially used to manufacture town gas either as a feedstock in gas reforming processes or to enrich lean gases such as that produced by the Lurgi coal gasification process. The pipeline was 18-inch (460 mm) in diameter and operated at 1,000 pounds per square inch (69 bar). The pipeline had 150 miles (240 km) of spur lines, supplying gas to area boards.

Natural gas was discovered on the UK continental shelf in 1965 and production started in 1967. Shore terminals were built to receive, process, blend and distribute the gas. Gas from the West Sole field was first dispatched from the Easington terminal in July 1967, via Feeder No. 1 across the Humber to the East Midland Gas Board's gasworks at Killingholme. It was used to enrich low calorific value manufactured gas. Feeder No. 1 was extended to Totley near Sheffield where it connected to the 18-inch methane pipeline, UK natural gas first entered the NTS in July 1968.

Feeder lines from the North Sea gas terminals to the spine of the NTS were laid and brought into use as the shore terminals were constructed.

Feeder No.1 has a 24-inch diameter (600 mm), 90 miles (144 km) long. It runs from the Easington terminal to the Scunthorpe and Totley near Sheffield, where it connected to the original methane pipeline. It was finished in 1968.

Feeder No.2 has a 36-inch (900 mm) diameter and 123 miles (197 km) long. It runs from the Bacton terminal to the Brisley, Peterborough and Churchover near Rugby, where it connected to the original methane pipeline. It was completed in 1968.[4]

Feeder No.3 has a 36-inch diameter and 107 miles (171 km) long. In runs from Bacton terminal to the Roudham Heath, Cambridge, and Whitwell near Hitchin, where it connects to the original methane pipeline. It was completed in 1969.

Feeder No.4 has a 36-inch diameter and 154 miles (246 km). It runs from the Bacton terminal the the Great Ryburgh, King's Lynn and Alrewas near Lichfield. It was completed in 1970.

Feeder No.5 has a 36-inch diameter. It runs from Bacton terminal to Yelverton, Diss, Chelmsford and Horndon, where it connected to the original methane pipeline. It was completed in 1971.

Feeder No.6 has a 30-inch (750 mm) diameter and is 91 miles (146 km). It runs from Paull to Pickering, Westwood and Little Burden near Darlington. It was completed in 1971.

Feeder No.7 has a 36-inch diameter. It runs from Wisbech to Hatton and Scunthorpe. It was completed in 1972.

Feeder No.8 has a 30-inch diameter. It runs from the former Viking (Theddlethorpe) terminal to the Hatton. It was competed in 1972.

Feeder No.9 runs from Easington to East Ilsley. It was completed in 1986.[4]

Feeder No.10 runs from Boon to Coldstream and St.Fergus to Aberdeen.[4]

Feeder No.15 runs from Longtown to Warburton. It was completed in 1984.

Feeder No.16 runs from Barrow to Lupton. It was completed in 1983.[4]

Feeder No.17 runs from Theddlethorpe to Hatton. It was completed in 1988.[4]

Feeder No.18 runs from Peterborough to Cambridge and was completed in 1988-94, from Isle of Grain to Gravesend completed in 2008, and from Matching Green to Tilbury completed in 1990.

Feeder No.19 runs from Easington to Paull. It was completed in 1991.

Feeder No.20 runs from Ilchester to Choakford. It was completed in 1989.

Feeder No.21 runs from Mawdesley to Alrewas. It was completed in 1992-2001. It also runs from Carnforth to Burscough, completed in 1992, and from Elworth to Deeside power station completed in 1994.

Feeder No.22 runs from Goxhill to Peterborough. It was completed in 1993.

Feeder No.23 runs from Churchover to Honeybourne. It was completed in 1998-2001. And form Peterstow in Gilwern, completed in 2000, and from Wormington to Corse, completed in 2000.

Feeder No.24 runs from St Fergus to Lochside. It was completed in 2001. And from Easington to Paull, completed in 2010, and from Hatton to Silk and Willoughby, completed in 2001.

Feeder No.25 runs from Bridge Farm to Mickle Trafford. It was completed in 2001.

Feeder No.26 runs from Huntingdon to Steppingley. It was completed in 2001.

Feeder No.27 runs from Bacton to Kings Lynn.[4] It was completed in 2003. And from Cambridge to Matching Green, completed in 2002.

Feeder No.28 runs from Herbrandston to Corse. It was completed in 2007.

Feeder No.29 runs from Easington to Nether Kellett. It was completed in 2006-08.

North Sea gas first reached Scotland in Spring 1970 at Coldstream, this was via an extension of the Leeds-Newcastle pipeline. This pipeline was then extended to Glenmavis near Coatbridge Lanarkshire (Feeder No. 12) where a natural gas liquification plant was constructed.

A major set of pipelines were constructed in Scotland in preparation for arrival of gas from the Frigg gas field in 1977. From the St Fergus terminal in Scotland, two 36-inch (900 mm) pipelines (Feeder No. 10 and No. 11) were laid via Bathgate to Partington and Bishop Auckland to connect to the NTS in England, a total pipeline length of 595 miles (950 km). These lines were commissioned in 1976 and cost £140 million. Initially these pipelines carried gas from southern England into Scotland until the Frigg field began production via St Fergus in September 1977. Compressor stations are provided at 40 mile (65 km) intervals along the pipelines. A third 36-inch pipeline from St Fergus (Feeder No. 12) was completed in 1978, and a fourth 40-inch (1050 mm) pipeline (Feeder No. 13) in 1982.

The NTS was extended from Leeds to Newcastle upon Tyne in early 1969. This line was extended to Coldstream in Spring 1970 and then to Glenmavis near Coatbridge Lanarkshire.

The Wales Gas Board received natural gas supplies in 1969 from a 24-inch line from Churchover (Rugby) to Swansea via Wormington (an extension to Feeder No. 2). North Wales was also connected in 1969 via a 24-inch/18-inch pipeline from Audley Cheshire to Maelor near Wrexham (an extension to Feeder No. 4).

The South Western Gas Board received natural gas at the end of 1970 from a 24-inch/20-inch pipeline from Wormington to Exeter (Feeder No. 14).

A 30-inch/24-inch extension of Feeder No. 3 runs to the west of London via Slough to Mogador Surrey and was commissioned in 1970. An extension of the Feeder No. 5 runs from Horndon-on-the Hill, crosses the Thames at Tilbury and runs via Shorne to connect to Mogador, thus completing the South London ring main, this became operational in early 1972.

In addition to these distribution pipelines in 1971 Area Boards began to supply natural gas directly to major consumers. For example, a 24-inch 17 mile 'spine' pipeline was constructed to ICI Ltd at Billingham (designated as part of Feeder No. 6), and the West Midlands Gas Board laid six similar 'spine' mains into industrial districts of Birmingham and the Black Country.

The European Hydrogen Backbone lists key parts of the national transmission system to be repurposed to carry hydrogen within them. By 2030, they expect the Manchester-Connah's Quay segment and the Glinton-Rattray segment to be hydrogen-ready.[2]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 © National Grid UK (December 3, 2020). "Network route maps". NationalGrid. Retrieved December 8, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "European Hydrogen Backbone Maps". European Hydrogen Backbone. Retrieved Oct 9th, 2022. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Bulgartransgaz has joined the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative". (in български). Retrieved 2022-10-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 National Grid (September 30, 2019). "Winter Maintenance Plan Final Version". nationalgrid. Retrieved December 10, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Related articles

External resources

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on the National Transmission System ([1]). This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License].