First Gas has both low pressure distribution pipelines supplying domestic and commercial customers, and high pressure gas transmission pipelines supplying industrial customers and providing the bulk gas supply for the North Island.

Pipelines are one of the safest forms of transportation for gas and petroleum products. The biggest risk of damage to pipelines is people digging or undertaking other work around the pipelines without getting plans, or a permit or close approach consent.

First Gas staff and contractors are required to enter private property from time to time to inspect or carry out maintenance activities on the pipelines. It is important to First Gas to build and maintain positive relationships with people who have First Gas pipelines on their land so we can continue to operate a safe and reliable gas pipeline network.

One of the steps we are taking to achieve this is to provide landowners and occupiers with as much information as possible about our pipelines and what to expect if there is a pipeline on your property.

First Gas supplies more than 60,000 customers through a network of over 4,800km of distribution pipelines in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, East Coast and the Kapiti Coast. Most of these pipelines are located in road reserves, however in some cases these pipes cross private property.

Gas Distribution pipelines are laid at varying depths, generally between 400mm to 1200mm deep, however alterations to the ground cover may reduce or increase the depths in certain areas.

Before planning to do any digging or construction work on your property or road frontage, refer to our Working Near our Pipelines page, and lodge an enquiry at www.beforeudig.co.nz or by calling 0800 248 344. If there are gas distribution pipelines on your property you will receive plans showing their location. If you will be working near one of our strategic pipelines, we will contact you to arrange for a Close Approach Consent to be issued to you.

For general enquiries about gas distribution pipelines call us on 0800 FIRST GAS (0800 347 784).

As First Gas owns and operates over 2,200 kilometres of high pressure gas transmission pipelines throughout the North Island and manages over 600km of easements for other pipelines owners, you may own or be living or working on a property that is crossed by buried transmission pipelines.

High pressure gas transmission pipelines are located in registered easements where they cross private property. The terms and conditions of easements provides pipeline owners with rights of access to inspect and maintain the pipelines, and set some controls to prevent damage to the pipelines caused by external interference.

You may see our staff from time to time as they carry out inspection and maintenance activities. We will notify you before any First Gas staff or contractors come onto your property.

Easement widths vary but they are generally 12 metres wide for a single pipelines and increase by 4 metres for each additional pipeline.

The location of high pressure gas and petroleum pipelines are clearly marked [photo e.g.s of signs and marker posts somewhere]. However, signs are an indication only. For your personal safety, and the safety of the pipelines, you must contact us before undertaking any works on or near the easement.

Look out for:

  • Danger signs and white painted fence posts in rural areas
  • White triangular signs at major river and harbour crossings
  • Signs on kerbs, streetlights and power poles in urban areas
  • Marker tape may be buried above the pipeline

High pressure transmission pipelines are buried at a depth of at least 900mm. However, actual depth may vary due to changes in the ground surface since the pipelines were constructed and can result in an increase/decrease in depth.

Pipeline Easement Permits

You must obtain a Pipeline Easement Permit for all works within a pipeline easement or in the road reserve near a high pressure transmission pipeline. The types of work that require a permit include:

  • All excavation works
  • Logging and tree felling
  • Seismic surveys
  • Laying or working on other services
  • Construction of roads and tracks
  • Removing or increasing soil cover
  • Under-boring/Directional drilling
  • Blasting
  • Building construction
  • Operating heavy machinery or vehicles
  • Fencing
  • Planting
  • Deep ripping
  • Drain clearing and construction

We will meet you on site to locate and identify the pipeline, and then issue you with a permit. We require at least two working days’ notice. To arrange for your pipelines location and permit, or if you have any questions about transmission pipeline easements, contact us on 0800 800 393 or locations@firstgas.co.nz.

How you may identify a leak from a gas or petroleum pipeline:

  • Dead or discoloured vegetation
  • Ground water bubbling or frozen
  • An unusual hissing or roaring sound coming from the vicinity of the pipeline or associated facility
  • An unusual odour in the area of the pipeline
  • A fog-like vapour near the ground.

Treat it seriously and:

  • Shut down all machinery
  • Evacuate the area immediately by foot
  • Remove all possible sources of ignition. Do not start up any motor vehicles
  • Call the Fire Service on 111 (if necessary)
  • Call Vector on 0800 734 567. Emergency procedures will be set in motion and trained staff will be sent to the site
  • Don’t return to the area until you are advised that it is safe to do so

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL

Please don’t cover up an accident. Let us know. It is much easier and less expensive for us to repair problems when they occur, rather than later.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) brings new responsibilities for everyone in a workplace. Under the HSWA First Gas is a PCBU (person controlling a business or undertaking).  When accessing your property First Gas must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that others are not put at risk by its work.

First Gas’ access rights in relation to your property are specifically prescribed by the easement registered against the title to that property. However please advise us of any known hazards on your property so that First Gas can advise staff and contractors.

You can notify us by calling 0800 FIRST GAS (0800 347 784) or emailing us on landinfo@firstgas.co.nz.