With less than three weeks of liquid fuel reserves, Australia risks grinding to a halt following a global economic shock or conflict along a major trade route, but a new report outlines a potential solution that would cost consumers less than a cent per litre.
Australia’s Fuel Security: Running on Empty, written by former Director of the Maritime Transport Policy Centre at the Australian Maritime College John Francis, will be released this morning in Parliament House, Canberra.
The report examines the policy and industry changes that have caused fuel supplies to fall to just a quarter of the International Energy Agency’s fuel stockholding obligation, along with costing a potential solution.
It also highlights that Australia is the only developed oil-importing country where there is no government controlled stock of crude oil or refined petroleum products, no mandated commercial stock requirements for oil companies, and no government involvement in oil markets.
Concerns over declining domestic production, diminishing refining capacity, and potential flashpoints in the Middle East and South China Sea forced the Turnbull government to announce in May that it would undertake a National Energy Security Assessment.
Mr Francis was commissioned by the Maritime Union of Australia to investigate Australia’s reliance on international ships for our liquid fuel supplies, estimate the number of tankers required to maintain supplies, and calculate the cost, per litre, of using Australian-owned and crewed tankers to maintain fuel supplies.