South Australia's gas supply and market
Gas in South Australia comes from a number of sources (see below). The majority (approximately 60%) of natural gas is used to generate electricity, and the rest is piped to households and business through the distribution network.
Wholesale gas is sold directly by gas producers to gas retailers under private contracts and through the Short Term Trading Market (managed by the independent Australian Energy Market Operator). The gas retailers then sell the gas to households and businesses.
In South Australia, a licence to explore for gas is needed before any exploration activity can begin. If anything is discovered, further approvals need to be granted before any production activities can begin or a pipeline built and operated.
Where our gas comes from
South Australia’s gas is sourced from Victoria, Queensland and the Cooper Basin, which is in both South Australia and Queensland.
Port Bonython liquids plant produces 6,000 to 10,000 tonnes of propane per month. LPG bottled gas is around 98% propane.
Six transmission pipelines, directly and indirectly, deliver natural gas to the Adelaide metropolitan area and major regional areas:
- Moomba to Adelaide Pipeline (MAPS)
- South East Australia Gas (SEA Gas) underground gas pipeline from Port Campbell in Victoria to Adelaide
- Moomba to Sydney Pipeline (MSP)
- Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales (QSN) link, allowing gas to flow from Queensland into South Australia then through the MAPS or MSP
- South East South Australia pipeline (SESA), connecting the SEA Gas pipeline to gas facilities at Katnook/Ladbroke Grove
- South East Pipeline System (SEPS), delivering gas from Katnook to Snuggery and Mount Gambier
- SA Riverland pipeline, which transfers gas from Angaston to Berri then onto Mildura in Victoria. A connection on the SA Riverland pipeline supplies Murray Bridge with natural gas.
The natural gas distribution network in South Australia is owned by Australian Gas Networks (AGN) and consists of more than 7,500km of pipes.
Natural gas is transferred from the transmission pipelines to the distribution networks at city gate stations, where the gas is metered and the pressure is reduced. As natural gas enters your property, it passes through your gas meter, which records your gas consumption for billing purposes.
Customers who can’t access the natural gas distribution network can use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In some areas of South Australia, LPG is supplied to homes and businesses through a large central tank and a reticulated gas network. LPG is also commonly available to customers across South Australia as bottled LPG.
Selling gas to households and businesses
Gas retailers sell gas to residential, business and industrial customers. Retailers pay regulated charges to the transmission and distribution companies to transport the gas, which is passed on to you through your gas prices.
As a customer, you have rights and responsibilities determined by law to help protect you in your dealings with energy retailers and distributors.
You can choose your energy retailer and contract type and can compare the range of energy offers available using the Energy Made Easy price comparison service or by calling 1300 585 165.
What makes up your gas prices
Your gas tariff (the amount you pay per megajoule of gas used) and daily supply charges are made up of the different costs your retailer pays to provide gas to your property. These include:
- extraction and production costs
- transmission and distribution costs
- retail costs.
Extraction and production costs are the costs associated with extracting gas from various sources.
Transmission costs include the costs associated with operating and maintaining the pipelines that transmit gas from production facilities to the distribution network. Distribution costs include the costs associated with providing and maintaining the infrastructure that makes up AGN’s gas distribution network. Retailers pay fees to the transmission providers, which are then passed on to you. How much of the transmission and distribution costs can be fairly passed on to you by a retailer is determined every five years by the Australian Energy Regulator, which regulates the wholesale gas market, networks and retail.
Retail costs are the costs associated with the retailer running their business and include things like the costs of connecting customers, billing customers and managing accounts. These costs differ between businesses, so are determined by individual retailers.
Gas industry regulation
The gas industry in South Australia is governed by gas acts, regulations and standards.
The Australian Energy Regulator sets network charges, and monitors and enforces the compliance of energy market participants, energy service providers and the Australian Energy Market Operator with national energy legislation and rules.
The Essential Services Commission of South Australia is responsible for gas entity licensing, and consumer protection.
Gas safety and technical regulation in South Australia is the responsibility of the Office of the Technical Regulator.