What is gas?

Gas cooktop flame

Gas is a hydrocarbon-based product that either occurs naturally or as a by-product of oil refining. 

It is a vital source of energy for NSW, providing power to meet domestic, industrial and commercial needs. 

As Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) it is an alternative to petrol in some motor vehicles. 

As an essential safety precaution, additives give gas a pungent, distinctive smell. If the smell is noticed it should be immediately reported to your network operator or a licensed gasfitter.

Uses

Natural and coal seam gas occur organically and consist mainly of methane. They are piped to the homes or businesses of customers to provide warmth, lighting and commercial needs.

Household appliances use either natural gas or LPG but different burners are required depending on which gas is used.

The majority of household appliances can be converted to use either natural gas or LPG but it is imperative for safety reasons that all gas installations and conversions must be done by a licensed gasfitter.

LPG is, in some cases, propane extracted from natural gas as it emerges from the ground or is a by product of oil refining.

More transportable than natural gas, LPG can be supplied in cylinders or piped into homes and businesses. LPG is a mix of predominantly propane and butane with the ratios adjusted to suit specific needs.

Automotive LPG also powers specific motor vehicles as an alternative to petrol but automotive LPG cannot be used in domestic appliances. 

Gas is also playing an increasingly important role as a fuel to generate electricity.

Advantages

Gas is efficient, safe and clean-burning with decisive environmental advantages over electricity generated by coal burning.

The average household's energy demands each year contributes about eight tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2, the main greenhouse gas) into the environment.

Changing from electricity to gas for uses like water heating, internal heating and cooking could reduce greenhouse gas emission by as much as four to one.

Future

NSW can only provide five per cent of its annual gas consumption of 160 petajoules. The other 95 per cent is imported from Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. 

This disparity between locally available gas and supplies from other States is the motivation for NSW's acute focus on finding new supplies of gas to power future generations. 

On average about 22% of NSW's annual gas intake is used by households and commercial.

Manufacturing commands 49.8% with 26.9% being used by gas-fired power generators.