Facts and figures about pipelines and gas

Pipelines are used to transmit different forms of gas and other liquids such as oil, slurry and water. They are critical infrastructure for Australia, and important for the energy industry.

Australia’s first pipeline was commissioned to transport water to the Coolgardie gold fields in the late 1800s. This set a worldwide precedent by being more than 10 times longer than any other pipeline then in existence. The Moonie to Brisbane pipeline was the first Australian pipeline built to transport oil. It was completed in 1964 and was 306 kilometres long. At that time, it was the longest high-pressure pipeline in Australia.

Now, more than 37,000km of high-pressure gas transmission pipelines traverse the country. Natural gas is the third most important energy commodity in Australia, providing an estimated 20 per cent of Australia’s energy requirements.

About pipelines

Australia’s gas transmission pipeline system

Australia has more than 37,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission pipelines that efficiently transport gas under high pressure from where it is produced to the outskirts of cities both large and small. Every molecule of gas used in Australia travels at least part of the way to its destination in a transmission pipeline. Find out more.

Pipeline construction

Transmission pipelines can be hundreds of kilometres in length and they can pass through a wide variety of terrain with different geological and topographical features, as well as State and Territory borders. Choosing the final route depends on a number of variables: find out more.

Living with pipelines

Natural gas is used widely every day in homes, businesses and institutions across Australia for heating, air-conditioning, hot water and cooking. It is also used extensively for generating electricity and in manufacturing processes. Almost five million homes and businesses are connected to gas and many others benefit from its use. Read more.

Research into pipelines

Relevant research can make a vital contribution to the safe and efficient operation of the pipeline industry. APGA’s Research and Standards Committee has been organising and investing in research for more than two decades. Read more.

About gas

The role of natural gas in Australia

Australia has abundant supplies of natural gas, both offshore and onshore, enough for more than 50 years, based on current production. It is Australia’s third largest energy resource, after coal and uranium, and it is a crucial part of Australia’s energy mix. Read more.

Gas use in industry

Natural gas is used in all sectors of Australian industry, in particular in the chemical, rubber, paper, metal, milk, plastics and vehicle industries. Gas is used as a feedstock because of its chemical properties or because it can cheaply and rapidly heat to very high temperatures. Read more.

Gas markets

Most gas in Australia is traded bilaterally via long term contracts between gas producers and  their customers: energy retailers and large industrial gas users. Transmission pipelines connect gas fields to gas consumers in the same way as railways and trucks connect rural farmers to city markets, and pipeline operators sell the space, called capacity, on their transmission pipelines. Find out more.

The gas journey

Natural gas was formed hundreds of millions of years ago from decomposing microrganisms, plants and animals that was gradually covered by sand, sediment and rock. Find out more.

Unconventional extraction of gas

Until recently, much of the natural gas extracted in Australia came from underground basins where the gas was contained in porous sandstone and trapped there by an impermeable rock cap. It has been conventionally extracted by drilling a hole through the rock and inserting a well via which the gas comes to the surface. However, natural gas can also be trapped in coal seams, in shale and in tight sands and these all require slightly different methods, unconventional techniques, to be used to extract the gas. Find out more.

Last updated on 29 Jun 2017 by