Origin is an Australian listed public energy company with headquarters in Sydney. It is an Australian Stock Exchange publicly listed company.

History

Origin Energy was formed 18 February 2000, as a result of a demerger of the Australian conglomerate, Boral Limited, which saw the energy business formed as a new company, separate from the building and construction materials business.[2] The SAGASCO business became part of Origin Energy as part of the demerger.[3]

Between 2001 and 2002, Origin acquired a Victorian electricity retailer licence from distributors Powercor and CitiPower. In 2004, the SEAGas pipeline was completed and commissioned, which served to link the Victorian and South Australian gas markets. During this time, Origin obtained 50% interest in the Kupe Gas Field, and managed to obtain Edison Mission Energy's 51.4% interest in New Zealand's Contact Energy.[2] Origin sold its 53% shareholding in Contact Energy to the market in 2015.[4]

On 27 November 2006, the Queensland Government announced the sale of Sun Retail Pty Ltd, the former retailing arm of Energex to Origin for $1.202 billion. Sun Retail included some 840,000 residential, commercial and industrial electricity customer accounts and 55,000 LPG customers.[5]

On 15 December 2010, Origin Energy announced that it would purchase the retail divisions of Country Energy and Integral Energy from the Government of New South Wales, at a total cost of A$3.25 billion,[6][7] as well as entering a GenTrader agreement with Eraring Energy (in which Origin supplies fuel, pays certain charges, and can dispatch and sell electricity output, while Eraring Energy owns, operates and maintains the power stations). The transaction was completed on 1 March 2011.[8]

In 2013, Origin withdrew from the EGS investment in Geodynamics.

In 2018, Origin Energy was among 17 energy businesses that supported the launch of the Energy Charter, a global initiative aimed at bringing together all parts of the power supply chain to give customers more affordable and reliable energy.[9]

Core business

Uranquinty Power Station (Natural gas)

Natural gas exploration and production

The company has a diverse exploration portfolio, which includes the Bowen and Surat Basins in Queensland, Browse Basin in Western Australia, and the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory. In 2017 Origin sold its subsidiary Lattice Energy and its conventional upstream oil and gas business to Beach Energy for $1,585 million.[10]

Australia Pacific LNG, Queensland, Australia

Origin Energy is a major shareholder together with US giant ConocoPhillips and China's Sinopec in a joint venture of Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG),[11] that delivers Australia's largest coal seam gas (CSG) to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Queensland.

The project consists of:[12]

  1. Further development of Australia Pacific LNG's gas fields in the Surat and Bowen Basins in south-west and central Queensland.
  2. Construction of a 530 km gas transmission pipeline from the gas fields to an LNG facility on Curtis Island off the coast of Gladstone.
  3. Construction of an LNG facility on Curtis Island off the coast of Gladstone, with the first two gas production trains processing up to 9 million tonnes per annum.

On 26 October 2017, gas producer and exporter APLNG entered into a sales agreement with Origin Energy, to supply 41 petajoules of gas under a 14-month contract starting 1 November, significantly boosting the supply of natural gas to the domestic east coast market. The contract brings the company's total commitment to 186 PJ for 2018, representing almost 30% of Australian east coast domestic gas market demand.[11]

Energy retailing

As Australia's largest energy retailer[citation needed], Origin has approximately 4.217 million customers, servicing both large energy customers and the residential and small business market.[13] Product and service offerings include electricity, natural gas and LPG. Origin is also Australia's leading provider of low-carbon products such as GreenPower, Green Gas and solar PV.[citation needed]

Electricity generation

Origin operates one of Australia's largest power generation portfolios with 6,010 MW of capacity. This represents approximately 13 per cent of power generation capacity in the National Electricity Market.[14]

Power station[15] State Location Capacity MW Peak/base Commissioned Fuel Notes
Darling Downs Power Station Queensland Dalby 644 Baseload 2010 coal seam gas from the Surat Basin
Queensland Roma 80 Peaking 1999 Gas built by Boral[16]
Mortlake Power Station Victoria 12 km west of Mortlake 566 Peaking 2012 Otway Basin gas Largest gas-fired power station in Victoria
Ladbroke Grove Power Station South Australia Penola 80 Peaking 2000 Natural gas
Quarantine Power Station South Australia Torrens Island 224 Peaking 2000 (enlarged in 2009) Gas
Uranquinty Power Station New South Wales Uranquinty 664 Peaking 2009 Gas
Eraring Power Station New South Wales Dora Creek 2880 Baseload 1982 Coal Australia's largest power station
Mount Stuart Power Station Queensland Stuart, Townsville 423 Peaking 1999 Kerosene North Queensland's largest power station. Open-cycle gas turbine
New South Wales Kangaroo Valley and Bendeela 240 Peaking two pumped storage hydropower stations Water
South Australia Osborne 180 Baseload and peak jointly owned by Origin and
Western Australia Worsley 60 provides steam and power to the Worsley Alumina Refinery. Jointly owned by Origin and Verve Energy
Victoria Dandenong 120 gas In partnership with Places Victoria, Australia's first urban distributed energy precinct
Victoria Ballarat and Bendigo 0.300 2009 Solar generate a total of 710 MWh of power per year

Renewable energy

Challicum Hills Wind Farm

Origin is active in the renewable energy arena. It has spent a number of years developing:

  • Purchase contracts for the acquisition of electricity from Wind farms in South Australia and Victoria including the entire output produced by Pacific Hydro from the Challicum Hills wind farm located near Ararat and the Yambuk wind farm near Portland. Origin Energy is the largest buyer of wind energy in Australia.[17] Origin does not hold any equity positions in Australian wind farms.
  • A solar energy business using solar cell technology invented by a team led by Professor Andrew Blakers at The Australian National University.[18] Origin Energy expected to be manufacturing its technology for the Australian market by 2008.[19]
  • Geothermal power, a technology based on the conversion of heat sourced from deep, hot rocks into electricity. Origin's geothermal investment in Australia is via a minority shareholding stake in the Australian company Geodynamics.[20] In Indonesia Origin pursued geothermal opportunities through its interest in Geothermal Services Indonesia (OTP).[21] In 2013, Origin withdrew from the Innamincka Deeps and Innamincka Shallows Joint Ventures with Geodynamics in Australia.[22] In 2015, Origin announced that it would exit its geothermal activities and assets, including in Indonesia, Chile, and Vietnam.[21]

Whistleblower allegations

In January 2017, The Guardian reported allegations of whistleblower Sally McDow, a former compliance manager at Origin. She claimed that the company had ignored various wellfield integrity problems, including failing to maintain hundreds of wells across Australia and New Zealand, failing to seal wells after their active lives and failing to report incidents internally or to the appropriate regulators. She also described a culture of bullying and harassment within the organisation. She said that she had advised the CEO at the time, and Grant King (then President of the Business Council of Australia) but that King did not want the incidents reported. He allegedly stated that the incidents could be used by opponents of the unconventional gas industry to delay or halt current or future projects.

A company spokesperson told The Guardian that Origin would “categorically deny the allegations that form the basis of Ms McDow’s most recent claim” and “vigorously defend the claim in court”.[23]

Beetaloo Basin Controversy and Environmental Degradation

Origin Energy Australia is currently fracking for oil in Jingili Country in the Beetaloo Sub-basin, Northern Territory, which will both contribute significantly the ongoing climate crisis, as well as directly impacting indigenous communities. A moratorium on fracking in the Northern Territory was lifted in April 2018 with approvals to commence granted to Origin in August 2019.[1]. Origin Energy’s fracking activities have environmental effects both in terms of the fossil fuels extracted, as well as destroying water sources and habitation within the area with in which the wells are established.

Drilling then began in October 2019, despite opposition from local residents and the region's Indigenous Traditional Owners, violating the human rights of indigenous peoples.[2] Traditional owners have on previous occasions been “…forced out of an Origin Energy meeting in Tennant Creek…after they tried to present a letter with more than 200 signatures contesting plans to begin fracking” [3]. In addition to this, indigenous peoples, such as “Ray Dixon, a Mudburra Traditonal Owner from Marlinja community near Elliott, said Origin had ignored and failed to consult traditional owners over its fracking plans” [4]. This lack of consultation with traditional owners is in violation of the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination which enshrines the right for indigenous peoples to have “free, prior and informed consent” to the use of their lands. This same lack of consent was also present within the infamous and more heavily publicised Adani, Carmichael coal mine.

References

  1. ^ a b c https://www.originenergy.com.au/about/investors-media/reports-and-results/financial-history.html
  2. ^ a b "Our history". Origin Energy.
  3. ^ "Origin Energy Ltd Form 20-F/A (Amended Annual and Transition Report)". Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Origin Energy sale of Contact completed" (PDF) (Press release). Contact Energy. 5 August 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 January 2016.
  5. ^ "New dawn for Qld energy market" (Press release). Energex. 1 February 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Acquisition of New South Wales Energy Businesses". Origin Energy. December 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Origin buys NSW power assets for $3.25b". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Origin completes acquisition of Integral Energy and Country Energy retail businesses and enters binding GenTrader arrangements with Eraring Energy" (Press release). Origin Limited. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  9. ^ "AGL, Energy Australia, Origin join charter to cut power prices". www.news.com.au. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Origin agrees to sell Lattice Energy for $1,585 million" (PDF) (Press release). Origin Limited. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  11. ^ a b APLNG joint venture to boost gas supply to east coast
  12. ^ "About the project". Australia Pacific LNG. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  13. ^ https://www.originenergy.com.au/about/investors-media/reports-and-results/financial-history.html
  14. ^ "Generation capacity and peak demand". Australian Energy Regulator.
  15. ^ "Electricity Generation". Origin Energy. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  16. ^ "$30 Million Roma Power Station Meets Qld's Increased Electricity Demands". Boral Limited. 3 June 1999. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  17. ^ Origin Energy wind energy portfolio press release (Sept 2002)
  18. ^ Solar Energy at the ANU
  19. ^ Thin-cell solar power soon
  20. ^ Parkinson, Giles (23 August 2012). "Origin Energy writes off Sliver, wind, geothermal investments". RenewEconomy. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Origin Energy exits all geothermal activities and assets". Think GeoEnergy - Geothermal Energy News. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Origin Energy withdraws from Innamincka JVs with Geodynamics". Think GeoEnergy - Geothermal Energy News. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  23. ^ Slezak, Michael (26 January 2017). "Origin Energy ignores coal seam gas well leaks, whistleblower says". the Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2018.

External links