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4 November 1966 SANTOS

4 November 1966    SANTOS

On 4 November 1966 the SA Gas Company signed a contract with the South Australian and Northern Territory Oil Search (SANTOS), which had been formed in 1954 to search for oil and gas on leases covering 860,000 square kilometres of SA and Queensland. In 1963 discovery of natural gas at Gidgealpa and then at Moomba in July 1966 made the supply of natural gas to SA an economical proposition. The contract, the first for natural gas signed in Australia, gave the Gas Company the franchise to supply to consumers the gas produced from the SANTOS fields and was due to run for twenty years. Of course, prior to this all gas was manufactured from coal but because natural gas was drier than ‘town’ gas and burnt with a hotter flame, all existing appliances had to be converted for its use. This mammoth task was given to an American firm who began the conversions in August 1968 and by mid-1970 over 100,000 consumers had had their appliances converted. The phasing in of natural gas took over a year but the Osborne plant continued to supply manufactured gas to ICI and was finally shut down in October 1979.

Peter Donovan and Noreen Kirkman, The Unquenchable Flame, Wakefield Press, 1986,

Tags: natural gas, SANTOS