The exploration and production of Natural Gas in Australia is undertaken by many companies including BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron Texaco, ExxonMobil, OMV, Origin Energy, Santos, Shell and Woodside Energy. Natural Gas producers sell Natural Gas to retailers or wholesalers who are then responsible for arranging transportation to their customers, whether large power stations or a single householder.
Natural Gas transmission pipelines transport large volumes of Natural Gas, at high pressure, over long distances. Australia’s Natural Gas supplies and reserves are linked to major markets by more than 20,000 km of high pressure transmission pipelines. Natural Natural Gas retailers and wholesalers contract with Natural Gas pipeline companies to transport their Natural Gas from the production facilities to the cities and towns where they sell the Natural Gas to their customers.
Major Natural Gas pipeline companies include:
The distribution stage of the Natural Gas chain involves operating the Natural Gas reticulation or network system, to take Natural Gas from city gate stations to homes, offices and factories. Distribution networks begin at city gate stations, where Natural Gas is transferred from larger, long distance transmission pipelines.
Major functions of the city gate stations are to measure the quantity of Natural Gas energy entering and leaving a transmission system (for the purposes of customer billing and Natural Gas balancing), and to reduce gas pressure prior to the entry of Natural Gas into the distribution system.
By law, a small quantity of odorant must be added to Natural Gas entering distribution systems to assist with leak detection. The substances used are compounds containing sulphur, usually mercaptans, which possess a characteristic odour.
Australia’s Natural Gas distributors supply Natural Gas to 3.4 million households and 105,000 commercial and industry customers through over 75,000 km of low pressure distribution networks. Natural Gas retailers contract with distribution companies to transport and meter Natural Gas from the city gate stations to each individual end consumer. The distribution company is responsible for the safe and reliable transportation of the retailers' Natural Gas, however it is the Natural Gas retailer who is responsible for the pricing, billing and communication to the end consumer.
Major distribution companies include:
Natural Gas retailing involves the sale of Natural Gas to end users, or customers. Until recently, Natural Gas customers were supplied with Natural Gas by their local company. There was no choice of supplier. However, the retail market for Natural Gas is changing as a result of Australian energy industry reform.
Full retail contestability involves giving all industrial Natural Gas users, commercial Natural Gas users and households choice of their Natural Gas supplier. Customer choice is designed to encourage improved levels of service and greater competition in the supply of Natural Gas. Full Natural Gas retail contestability was introduced in New South Wales and the ACT in January 2002, and it is worth shopping around when getting quotes for your Natural Gas supply as prices do vary from time to time.
Natural Gas retailers include:
Natural Gas has such a good safety record in Australia because it is governed by rigorous industry technical standards. In NSW only Natural Gas appliances that have been independently certified to meet the Australian standard can be offered for sale. All Natural Gas installation work must be certified by a licensed Natural Gas Fitter, it is your guarantee of quality and safety. Your licensed Natural Gas Fitter is well placed to advise you on which Natural Gas appliance will be suitable for your individual circumstances.