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New South Wales

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bullet Map of Sydney region. bulletCoal bed methane

Government contacts

bullet Department of State Development bullet Department of Mineral Resources

Chemical industry

New South Wales has; bulletThe Botany petrochemical complex formerly operated by Orica (formerly ICI Australia) producing polyethylene and ethoxylates. The polyethylene polymers are produced by Qenos and the ethoxylates by Huntsman Corporation. The complex, in the suburbs of south Sydney, since 1996 is underpinned by ethane from South Australia. A chloralkali unit produces chlorine for chlorine chemicals and caustic soda for the local market. bulletA polypropylene resin plant at the Shell oil refinery at Clyde operated by Basell. bulletAn ammonia and ammonium nitrate plant at Newcastle operated by Incitec (ICI subsidiary). bulletA naphthalene plant at the BHP Newcastle steelworks, by Koppers. bulletAn electrolytic manganese dioxide plant by Delta Electrical at Newcastle. bulletvarious small scale synthesis operations including peroxides by Solvay Interox. bulletManufacture of polymers (phenolic, formaldehyde & urethane based) & paints (electrical insulating & specialised industrial) by Schenectady Australia Pty Ltd. bulletManufacture of alkyd resins and specialty polymers by Nuplex Holdings (including AC Hatricks) bulletSpecialty chemicals and additives for polymers and paints by APS (including the former Harcross Chemicals).  bulletFormulators of paints, adhesives, cleaning, pesticides etc.


bullet ICI Rhodes (former CSR Chemicals, now closed and of interest to company strategists). bulletTimbrol  


Like Victoria, the petrochemical industry in New South Wales was enabled during Australia's protectionist era and today is too small to significantly participate in world markets. ICI's Botany complex has been helped by the outlay of A$300m to bring ethane from South Australia that now underpins its polyethylene (and ethoxylate) production.

After three decades of banning the sale of gas from Bass Strait, Victoria has approved the construction of a gas line to near Sydney New South Wales. It will help reduce the cost of gas in the state.

The state has low cost electricity.

The Port Kembla Copper Smelter, due mid 1999, will at full capacity, produce 350 000 tonnes of sulfuric acid as co-product to production of 250 000 tonnes of copper..

Other raw materials include silica and magnesite.

Sodium Chlorate plant

In January 2001, Sterling Chemical Holdings of Houston USA plans a 60 000 tonnes per year of sodium chlorate costing US$55million planned to commence in early 2003. Aiming to be the lowest cost in the world, it will be located adjacent to the Bayswater Power Station some 200 km from Sydney. The chlorate will be sold to paper pulp plants in the Asia Pacific region.

Silicon project.

Proposed silicon metal project at Lithgow.

In July 2001, Quaestus Limited announced plans to purchase the feasibility study from Portman Investments.


NSW, is the only state in Australia which does not have its own gas reserves and uses 110 -120 petajoules of gas (cf 215 in Victoria) purchased from South Australia and Queensland.

In August 200, Duke energy completed its $450 million, 800 km Eastern Gas Pipeline from Longford in Victoria to NSW. Initial capacity is 55 petajoules increasing to 100 petajoules. BHP provides a baseload of 15 petajoules for Port Kembla steel works and Smithfield cogeneration plant. The line initially conveys 100 terajoules of gas per day (36 petajoules per year). The gas is at a higher cost (even before transmission costs) than gas from Moomba conveyed by the Australian Pipeline Trust. Both sources of gas are distributed by Australian Gas Light in Sydney.

Coal bed methane 

Coal industry specialists suggest up to 5 petajoules of coal bed methane (98 per cent methane) is available per square kilometre above the vast coal basins - equivalent to at least 400 000 petajoules (equivalent to 400 trillion cubic feet, though only one third realistically recoverable ) over 600 km of easter seaboard. Commercial evaluations are being undertaken though the viability of this source of gas is sensitive to energy prices.

In February 1999, Sydney Gas Company (a purpose listed company) announced plans for experimental wells to produce 250 gigajoules per day from from five wells at Camden (on the Bulli coal seam). (Amoco has spent US$31 million in the 1990s and sold the rights to Sydney Gas for royalties of 6.75%) In full production up to 5 to 10 million gigajoules may be produced per day (a gigajoule is valued at around A$2.50). (Gas production is by drilling, injecting water to fracture the seams, followed by sand to provide a porous fracture and then extracting the water carrying the methane.).

In the US, about 7 to 10 per cent of domestic gas production is from coal-bed methane where such wells can have a life of between 10 and 17 years.

In November 2000, Sydney Gas announced plans to produce 2 to 3 terajoules per day with sales to AGL from a 50  sq km area near Camden just SW of Sydney. A 10 km gas line being constructed (Feb 2001). 

In March 2001, the federal government announced it will contribute A$4.1million on a dollar per dollar basis to determine technology. Evaluation if horizontal drilling more efficient than vertical drilling costing $300 000 per well as horizontal wells are five times more efficient but can fracture coal seams. Sydney Basin is one of the largest coal bed methane reserves in the world. The company indicates a 300 well program of three to four years to deliver 25 petajoules.

More details and up to date information is at

 In Queensland, Oil Company of Australia (85 per cent owned by Origin Energy) is piping gas from Wandoan basin in central Queensland to Brisbane.  It has proven 80 petajoules at Peat and Moura fields. At peat it has drilled 27 holes with 12 supplying AGL. 

Other producers are Eastern Star Gas with $10m raised to develop CBM in NSW and Victoria.

Queensland Gas Co. gas four wells at Surat, Wyalla-1 Argyle 1 and Avidon Downs-1 and Pinelands-1.

Molopo Australia.

Note: Some 50 wells are required to produce 10 million cubic feet of gas per day (ie. 5 wells produce 1 terajoule per day).

See also Gas in Australia  

See also national chemical industry and trade performance.
A state by state comparison (five digit resolution available on

bulletWestern Australia bulletSouth Australia bulletNew South Wales bulletQueensland


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Regional activities

Click on the name of region or state for details. (Under development) Map of Australia showing described regions
Regions of New South Wales on map
Other information about New South Wales
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Chemlink Pty Ltd ACN 007 034 022. Publications 1997. All contents Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Products and companies referred to are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders. URL:
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