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Enhancing Australia's fuel security

15 June 2020

The Morrison Government is working with the Australian fuel industry to bolster Australia’s domestic fuel security and ease pressures on the nation’s refineries.

The Government has now opened a Request for Information (RFI) process to identify opportunities to increase Australia’s domestic fuel storage capacity.

RFIs are being sought from industry players on potential storage projects, which will allow the Government to examine different volume, location and fuel storage specifications. This will inform the next steps for exploring storage opportunities, to be announced later in 2020.

This RFI process forms part of the Government's comprehensive fuel security package and 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 also commenced a long-term strategic study of the refining industry. This work will assess the state of the industry and any required actions, with the objective of maintaining the long-term fuel security of Australia and enhancing national sovereignty.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said Australia continues to enjoy a reliable supply of fuel, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted 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,” said Minister Taylor.

“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.”

Minister Taylor announced in April 2020 that the Government would be taking advantage of the current low world oil prices to help Australia boost its oil holdings.

The Government is committed to improve our nation’s fuel security and to ensure the settings are right to help our domestic industry through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Details of the RFI process are available through the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ Consultation Hub website. Submissions close on Friday 10 July 2020.

Media contact: Minister Taylor’s office 02 6277 7120