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    23Jun2015

    Is Australia too reliant on imported fuel?

    • By Tony Hanly
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    As a country, Australia does not have a viable contingency plan in place to provide adequate supplies of fuel for our essential, everyday services and for our military forces. There is no public Government policy on maintaining a minimum level of oil refining capacity in Australia. Imagine what would happen if the fuel ran out?


    We drive our cars each day for work, for our everyday needs and for recreation. We rely on trucks delivering goods to our shops and agricultural machinery and industry to put food on the table and clothes on our back. We rely on reserves of fuel for our military forces to function in the event of turmoil, for our aircraft in the sky and our ships at sea. But as each day passes we act oblivious to the dire situation which underpins our life and our economy.

    The problem is that Australia has small and declining fuel stocks – it is extraordinary to consider we have only three weeks’ worth of oil and refined fuels in reserves in the event of a major fuel transport disruption.

    fuel stock holdings

    Australia’s combined dependency on crude and fuel imports for transport has grown from around 60% in 2000 to over 90% today.

    Increasing reliance on fuel imports

    To make matters worse, projections of fuel stocks over the next 15 years are more distressing. Based on a report on Australia’s Fuel Security commissioned by Australia’s largest motoring body, the NRMA, as a country we are heading towards a situation of 100% reliance on imported fuel.

    fuel projections

    That report makes disturbing reading. As a country we are hiding from the inevitable – the supply chain works well when fuel stock sits in the refineries, but our economy can be shut down as soon as oil tankers are delayed for any significant reason such as Middle East turmoil. You can download and read Australia’s Fuel Security Report here.

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