Gas Industry

Most people are aware of gas as a fuel source, but may not be aware of the differences between the gases and how safety is delivered. A very brief discussion is included here.


Gas is a non-renewable natural resource, which has considerable economic and environmental benefits. Gas is used in industry, as a fuel for vehicles and in homes and businesses for heating and cooking.
Most of the communities in Australia and New Zealand have access to reticulated natural gas or to LP Gas.

Natural Gas

Natural gas consists mostly of methane, with smaller amounts of ethane, propane, butane, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Pipelines running from wells to the various markets predominantly transport natural gas.
Methane becomes a liquid at -161 degrees C, and is largely shipped overseas in this form (LNG).


Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is made up mostly of propane and propene and used in heating and cooking. In Australia butane may also be present in the case of Autogas. LPG is produced as a by-product of petroleum refining or separated from natural gas.
LPG is principally sold in containers or dispensed at service stations as a fuel for vehicles. In certain circumstances propane can be reticulated to homes.


Natural gas and LPG are highly flammable which presents hazards during transportation and use. There is the obvious risk of burns, fires, explosions and asphyxiations. Incomplete combustion may occur whereby carbon monoxide can be produced. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and is the major cause of gas related deaths and chronic illnesses throughout the world. Also under some conditions oxides of nitrogen are produced which can have environmental concerns. Natural gas is lighter than air and will disperse more readily than LPG which being heavier than air may accumulate in low places and present another safety issues.

To ensure safety gas installations must not leak gas, have sufficient oxygen to allow for complete combustion, have the capacity to prevent the depletion of oxygen thus threatening sustenance of life and appliances that operate safely and efficiently.


Gas appliances have to be safe, but it is not possible to tell by observation if an appliance is actually safe. Extensive testing is required to establish safety. These tests have to be carried out by competent laboratories to the required standards. There has to be assurance that the products sold are the same as that tested. Regulators throughout Australia approve appliances before sale usually by recognising the certification process.

In Australia, you can tell if an appliance is approved by looking for a label, which will include the gas mark.


To ensure comprehensive knowledge and compliance with the standards only competent people can install gas work. This is achieved by licensing only gasfitters (those who do gas work) who have been successfully trained to competency standards and by maintaining a discipline system to ensure that only those who are competent can continue to practice gasfitting.

Only licensed gasfitters can do gasfitting. Always use a licensed gasfitter to install or maintain your gas installation or appliances. Licensed gasfitters are responsible for the safety of their work and generally self certify their work. In addition to this, some jurisdictions have inspectors, independent of the gasfitters who carry out an audit of these certifications.