Our storage is only just above half what’s required by the International Energy Agency
Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy, has announced plans to assess Australian liquid fuel security for the first time since 2011.
As a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Australia is obliged to hold 90 days worth of crude oil, liquified-petroleum gas, petrol, diesel and aviation fuel in reserve.
Why? Given we’re an import-dependent nation, political unrest or conflict in OPEC nations, or supply-route blockages could have a huge impact on the fuel available locally.
Liquid fuels like those listed above are crucial: in an opinion piece published in Fairfax newspapers, the Minister says they account for 37 per cent of our total energy use, and 98 per cent of our transport needs.
Right now, Frydenberg writes, we import three quarters of our crude oil and 55 per cent of our refined fuel. Malaysia is our largest crude supplier, while South Korea is our biggest supplier of refined product.
On any given day, up to 45 oil tankers could be bound for our shores, and the IEA says our imports are likely to increase by more than 3.0 per cent every year between now and 2021/22.
This vulnerability has been called out by the NRMA and ClimateWorks, with the former arguing electric vehicles could improve our security by slicing demand for liquid fuels.
“The Australian Government should prioritise domestic electricity generation to improve Australia’s fuel security and bring forward the benefits of electric and automated vehicles,” the NRMA said in its report: The future of cars is electric.
“At a time when close to all of our oil supply is reliant on importation, transitioning our road fleet to run on domestically-generated energy would significantly improve our national fuel security.”
The full liquid fuel assessment will be finished by the end of 2018, before being rolled into the broader National Energy Security Assessment for mid-2019.
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