Australia’s worsening fuel security risk – how will you cope?

I wrote this original story about 6 months ago that focused on the liquid fuel security risk report by the NRMA. With the announcement by BP that they will be closing their Brisbane refinery the predictions by NRMA are starting to come true. The closure of the Brisbane refinery reduces Australia’s domestic liquid fuel production to about 45% of demand, with the majority of liquid fuel imports coming from Singapore into South Australia and then needed to be transported to the other states there are reasons to be worried. Are you prepared?

Here is the story.

I thought it might be timely to highlight the risk of our liquid fuel security, it is a “high risk, high likelihood” that we still aren’t taking seriously. Why is it timely? Asia Pacific extreme weather events.

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In February this year the NRMA (yep, the stalwart of liquid fuel use) produced an excellent report that highlights Australia’s risk to not only our own dwindling oil reserves but also the closure of Australia’s oil refineries – those things that convert oil to liquid fuels. The report has lots of verified data and graphs that highlights our worsening predicament.

A summary. We currently produce only 60% of the oil that we consume within Australia, by 2025 we will only produce 30% of what we consume. That’s only 11 years away. By 2015 only 15% of the refined fuels consumed in Australia will come from australian oil refined in Australia. Almost a half will be from imported refined fuels – over 50% of the diesel consumed will be from imported refined fuels.

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There is the obvious impacts on transportation that we need to consider and I wrote about these earlier this year. But what the NRMA digs more into is the impact on pharmacy supplies and food.

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We currently only have enough fuel stocks, food stocks and pharmacy stocks for a week! If you need hospital care, you’ve only got three days!

So could our supplies be interrupted that much?

As at 2011 Singapore provided 51% of Australia’s petroleum products!

As of 2014 NSW will be 100% dependent on liquid fuel imports, either from overseas or from refineries in Melbourne or Brisbane (Apr 2014 update – Brisbane is gone) – as will Tasmania, ACT and South Australia.

Is it inconceivable that NSW could be without liquid fuel in a very short space of time? If any of those ports were disrupted by sever weather events that caused a blockage in the shipping channel, or piracy, or political disturbance! Imagine if it was the Singapore president that had his phone hacked – it wouldn’t just be military ties at risk.

My recommendation is to have a think about how you would cope as a family if this was to happen because according to the NRMA report the end user – YOU – hasn’t been considered in the emergency or resilience planning that has happened as federal or state government level.

Are you prepared?

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