Origin Energy Ltd
TypePublic
IndustryEnergy
FoundedFebruary 2000, but parts of the business date from the 20th century
HeadquartersBarangaroo
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Key people
Frank Calabria (CEO) (MD)
ProductsElectricity, natural gas, solar panels, LPG, hot water, heating and cooling, electric vehicle charging, broadband
RevenueDecrease A$12.097 billion (2021)[1]
Decrease A$-2.289 billion (2021)[1]
Websiteoriginenergy.com.au

Origin Energy an ASX listed public company with headquarters in Sydney. It is a major integrated electricity generator, and electricity and natural gas retailer. It operates Australia’s largest coal-fired power station at Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.[2]

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.[3] SAGASCO became part of Origin Energy as part of the demerger.[4]

Between 2001 and 2002, Origin acquired a Victorian electricity retailer licence from distributors Powercor and CitiPower. In 2004, the SEAGas pipeline was completed, linking the Victorian and South Australian gas markets. During this time, Origin obtained 50% interest in the Kupe Gas Field and Edison Mission Energy's 51.4% interest in New Zealand's Contact Energy.[3] Origin sold its 53% shareholding in Contact Energy to the market in 2015.[5]

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.[6]

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,[7][8] 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.[9]

Core business

Uranquinty Power Station (Natural gas)
Uranquinty Power Station (Natural gas)

Natural gas exploration and production

The company's portfolio 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] The project consists of development of Australia Pacific LNG's gas fields in the Surat and Bowen Basins, construction of a 530 km gas transmission pipeline from the gas fields to an LNG facility on Curtis Island and construction of an LNG facility on Curtis Island.[12]

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. 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

Origin has approximately 4.217 million customers, servicing both large energy customers and the residential and small business market.[13] Australia has predominantly two tiers of energy providers, A Tier 1 provider is any energy provider that holds more than 10% of the market share in any network region. Tier 2 energy providers are those that hold less than 10% of the market share within a network region. Origin Energy is a Tier 1 energy retailer.

Electricity generation

Origin operates is able to generate 6,010 MW of electricity 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
Roma Power Station 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
Shoalhaven Hydro Pump Storage Scheme New South Wales Kangaroo Valley and Bendeela 240 Peaking two pumped storage hydropower stations Water
Osborne Cogeneration Plant South Australia Osborne 180 Baseload and peak jointly owned by Origin and ATCO Power
Worsley Cogeneration Plant Western Australia Worsley 60 provides steam and power to the Worsley Alumina Refinery. Jointly owned by Origin and Verve Energy
Dandenong Cogeneration Plant Victoria Dandenong 120 gas In partnership with Places Victoria, Australia's first urban distributed energy precinct
Bendigo and Ballarat Solar Parks Victoria Ballarat and Bendigo 0.300 2009 Solar generate a total of 710 MWh of power per year

Controversies

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. Origin denied the allegations.[17]

Beetaloo Basin fracking

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Origin was approved by the Northern Territory government to start fracking in August 2019[18] and drilling commenced in October 2019.[19] Fracking began in September 2020 following a six-month COVID-19 induced stand down.[20] Origin has postponed production at their Kyalla well site to the second half of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[21]

Concerns were expressed by local officials on the fracking operation, fearing that it could affect their ability to get groundwater and stating the local officials did not fully understand the contracts they were signing with petroleum companies.[22] Accusations that Origin did not consult with traditional landowners before starting their planned exploration[23] were refuted by the Northern Land Council which stated it understood the text in the contracts and consulted with traditional Aboriginal landowners.[24] Origin stated that it conducted multiple checks when installing a well and that fracking stops if a check fails.[22]

Misleading information and prohibited fees

In December 2020, Origin was fined $126,000 after the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission issued an infringement for misleading information regarding price increases in a letter sent out to Victorian customers in December 2019. Origin stated in the letter that electricity prices were changing because of the Victorian Essential Services Commission's increase to the Victorian Default Offer, an unrelated price set by the Essential Services Commission. However, the ACCC stated that the price increase was entirely Origin's choice and they chose to increase prices.[25]

In October 2021 Origin was fined $5 million for charging 22,371 customers prohibited exit fees totaling $489,774. Origin received complaints about the fees in 2018 but continued charging them until 2020. The Essential Services Commission stated “Origin Energy knew at all times about the changes in the law banning exit fees and they even reviewed 19 different contract templates but didn’t remove the exit fees”. By October 2021 fewer than half the wrongly charged exit fees had been reimbursed.[26]

References

  1. ^ a b "Annual Report 2021 - Origin Energy" (PDF).
  2. ^ Toscano, Nick; Foley, Mike (17 February 2022). "Origin Energy to bring forward closure of Australia's largest coal-fired power plant". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Our history". Origin Energy. 17 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Origin Energy Ltd Form 20-F/A (Amended Annual and Transition Report)". Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Origin Energy sale of Contact completed" (PDF) (Press release). Contact Energy. 5 August 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 January 2016.
  6. ^ "New dawn for Qld energy market" (Press release). Energex. 1 February 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Acquisition of New South Wales Energy Businesses". Origin Energy. December 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Origin buys NSW power assets for $3.25b". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  9. ^ "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.
  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 Latimer, Cole (26 October 2017). "APLNG joint venture to boost gas supply to east coast". The Age.
  12. ^ "About the project". Australia Pacific LNG. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  13. ^ Energy, Origin (27 May 2020). "Five Year Financial History - Origin Energy". www.originenergy.com.au.
  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. ^ Slezak, Michael (26 January 2017). "Origin Energy ignores coal seam gas well leaks, whistleblower says". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  18. ^ "second approval for fracking quickly follows the first". www.Katherinetimes.com.au. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Engaging with Traditional Owners – Origin Beetaloo".
  20. ^ "Fracking to start in the Beetaloo". Katherine Times. 21 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  21. ^ Finnanne, Kieran (26 March 2020). "COVID-19 pauses Origin's Beetaloo activity | Alice Springs News". Alice Spring News. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  22. ^ a b Perkins, Miki (5 October 2019). "Fractured future: Water fears as drilling for gas begins in the NT". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  23. ^ Fitzgerald, Roxanne (12 July 2019). "Traditional owners banned from Origin Energy fracking meeting". Katherine Times.
  24. ^ "NLC backs Origin in fracking stoush with traditional owners". The Northern Territory News. Darwin. 23 October 2020. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  25. ^ Commission, Australian Competition and Consumer (22 December 2020). "Origin Energy pays penalty for allegedly misleading electricity customers". Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Origin Energy pays $5m fine for exit fees". 7News. AAP. 25 October 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.