Towngas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are the two main types of fuel
gas widely used throughout Hong Kong for domestic, commercial and industrial
purposes. In addition, LPG is used as a fuel for LPG taxis and light buses,
and natural gas is used for electricity generation.
Hong Kong has about two million gas customers in the
domestic, commercial and industrial sectors. In 2003, Towngas accounted
for 80 per cent of the total fuel gas sold in energy terms, and LPG for
20 per cent.
Towngas is manufactured at plants in Tai Po and Ma
Tau Kok, both using naphtha as feedstock. They have output capacities
of 8.4 and 2.6 million cubic metres per day, respectively. Towngas is
supplied through an integrated distribution system to about 1.52 million
customers. The mains network extends throughout Hong Kong via a 127-kilometre
high-pressure pipeline and some 2 978 kilometres of distribution mains.
LPG is imported into Hong Kong by sea and stored at
five terminals on Tsing Yi Island before being distributed to approximately
754 000 customers and LPG vehicle filling stations. In 2003,
about 22 per cent of total sales was supplied in cylinders by some 222
appointed gas distributors (operating 603 cylinder wagons), about 14 per
cent was distributed to bulk storage installations providing piped LPG
supplies to residential and commercial developments, and the remaining
64 per cent to vehicle filling stations as fuel for more than 18
000 LPG taxis and light buses. Cylinder LPG is now used in less
than 24 per cent of domestic dwellings.
Natural gas is currently used for power generation
at the Black Point and Castle Peak power stations. It is imported from
the Yacheng 13-1 gas field off Hainan Island in southern China via a 780-kilometre
high-pressure submarine pipeline.
The Gas Safety Ordinance regulates the importation,
manufacture, storage, transport, supply and use of fuel gas. All gas supply
companies, gas installers and contractors must be registered with the
Gas Authority (the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services) in
order to carry out their operations. At year-end, there were seven registered
gas supply companies, 2 901 registered gas installers and
421 registered gas contractors.