A recommendation has been made by Chief Executive of the Australian Trucking Association, Stuart St Clair during the association’s submission to the Government’s Energy Green Paper. The ATA thinks the government should call for an update to the international fuel stockpiling rules and should take responsibility for holding emergency fuel stocks which are currently held by private commercial entities.
According to an article on TruckWorld.com the issue is a relevant one because currently Australia is a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Companies that belong to the IEA are required to hold 90 days of emergency oil stocks in case of a significant oil supply disruption. At the moment, the nation’s fuel sticks stand at 52 days which is the lowest amongst all the IEA member countries.
The federal government actually doesn’t have the capacity to hold any stocks in case of an emergency, which means that in such a situation where supplies run dry, the power would be in the hands of those private entities who hold the reserve stock.
St. Clair explained, as quoted by the article on TruckWorld.com
“Liquid fuel is an essential part of day-to-day life in Australia. In the event of a disruption to oil supply, the emergency stockpile rules enable governments to keep supply chains running or assist other countries experiencing supply issues,” Mr St Clair said.
“However, the IEA’s 90 day requirement was set in 1974. This figure does not account for developments in the petroleum market since this time, including the holding of stocks at sea. These stocks account for more than a quarter of total oil stockholding directly owned and controlled by Australian companies.
“The Government should press the IEA to review its 90 days stockholding figure to reflect these developments and create a revised oil stockholding requirement. The Government should then seek to comply with the revised requirement.”
ATA’s chief executive went on to call for the government to take responsibility for the cost of establishing and maintaining these emergency liquid fuel stocks. He explained that the firms that supply fuel throughout Oz should not be relied upon to supply emergency fuel supplies in the case of an emergency, the government should hold that responsibility.
St. Clair went on to explain:
“Australia’s fuel companies do an excellent job of providing a reliable fuel supply across our country. However, they can’t be expected to have complete responsibility for maintaining critical fuel supplies in the event of a crisis, such as a major natural disaster,” Mr St Clair said.
“The Government needs to take on this role and pay for the cost of meeting the stockholding requirements. This civilian stockpile should be in addition to defence force oil stocks, which should be reserved for national security purposes.
St. Clair believes the government should also improve fuel security by focusing more on alternative fuel infrastructure as well as promoting research on and commercialisation of renewable fuels. He said the government should also attempt to eliminate obstacles surrounding the use of more fuel efficient, high productivity vehicles which would minimise our dependence on fossil fuels.