Prime Mover Magazine


Govt considers next steps for fuel storage options

Much needed increases to Australia’s domestic fuel storage capacity will be the subject of the Request for Information (RFI) recently opened by the Federal Government.

As it looks to ease pressure on the nation's refineries and bolster Australia's domestic fuel security, the Government today announced it has sought RFIS from industry players on potential projects.

This will inform the next steps for exploring storage opportunities including volume, location and storage specifications expected to be announced later this year.

The RFI process, according to the Government, will form part of its comprehensive fuel security package.

It follows on from Australia and the United States finalising a deal to store Australian Government owned oil in the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve earlier in June.

As part of the domestically focused aspects of the package, the Government is also working to support the local refining sector in both the short and medium term.

Temporary changes to diesel standard will be allowed to enable all Australian refineries to utilise excess jet fuel supplies.

This will ease the storage pressures currently being felt by refineries from the drop in demand for fuel products as a result of COVID-19.

High quality diesel will continue to be supplied to the retail market and the change will not affect the operation of vehicles, the environment, or health and safety.

The temporary change to the diesel flashpoint was supported by state and territory agencies, fuel refiners, car and truck manufacturers, and clean air experts.

The Government has, in addition to this, commenced a long-term strategic study of the refining industry in which the state of the industry and any required actions will be assessed with the objective of maintaining the long-term fuel security of the nation and enhancing national sovereignty.

Australia, according to Angus Taylor Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, continues to enjoy a reliable supply of fuel, despite the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the impact that large, unexpected changes in fuel supply and demand can have on the fuel storage and refining sectors.

“The Morrison Government has a comprehensive fuel security package, with the next steps of this plan focusing on strengthening Australia’s local industry,” he said in a statement.

“The Government wants to assess how we can best partner with industry to increase our storage capacity to further enhance our onshore fuel security.

“We are also working closely with our local refineries to better understand their challenges by assessing the long-term sustainability of the sector. By taking an industry-wide view, we will be able to make sure that we protect Australia’s national sovereignty and back the future of our fuel-using industries like our truckies, miners, farmers, and Australian motorists.”

In April Taylor announced that the Government would take advantage of the current low world oil prices to help Australia boost its oil holdings.

The Government said it was committed to improving Australia's fuel security and to ensure the settings are right to help the domestic industry through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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