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The history of gas

These days, natural gas is an energy source which runs underground in most cities in the developed world, providing the maximum comfort to homes and the energy needed by industry. We should remember that natural gas is a clean energy, the least polluting of all fossil fuels; it does not harm the environment or damage the landscape where its pipes are laid, as these are channelled underground. Would you like to learn more about the history of natural gas? How has it developed to the present level of technology? In order to familiarise ourselves with this energy and understand everything related to it, we will examine its origins and history.

Early users

History, early users of gas

Paradoxically, natural gas, now considered a "modern" energy source, has been known to humanity for thousands of years. Primitive peoples saw the flames which shot up in swamps after a lightning strike. Since then, the third state of material, gaseous, has been a constant source of fear and concern, due to its mysteriousness and intangibility.

Installation of bamboo pipes in 10th-century China
It is known that in China, natural gas was already being put to practical use in the 10th century. While mining for salt, the Chinese found pockets of gas which they channelled in a rudimentary manner with bamboo. In the West, too, the Greek and Roman civilisations knew this flame.

The Greeks were aware of the existence of oil in the Caspian Sea, and their writings describe the huge flames caused by the gas associated with it. Also, Plutarch, while narrating the conquests of Alexander the Great, tells of finding a source of fire in Ecbatana. Pliny describes the existence of natural gas, which ignited when torches were brought near. However, it does not appear that anyone tried to use this natural fuel until much later, when with the development of the manufactured gas industry, the technology became available to use natural gas.

The beginnings of gas

Deed of the first gas company in Spain

The history of the gas industry is closely linked to the development of society.

Gas was first used for lighting in towns, until it was replaced by electricity. When it was no longer used for lighting, new uses for gas were found, mainly cooking, hot water and heating buildings, useful applications that improved the well-being and comfort of society.

The gas sector in recent years

Memorandum of understanding for the development of gas in Spain


In 1998 the gas sector in Spain began to be deregulated with the passing of the Hydrocarbons Act. 



This law included the obligation to separate transport networks and the function of the Technical Manager of the system of distribution and sales networks