PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The federal government has opened a request for information (RFI) process to identify opportunities to increase Australia’s domestic fuel storage capacity in an effort to boost domestic fuel security and ease pressure on refineries.
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said that RFIs are being sought from industry players on potential storage projects, which would 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 US 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, Taylor said.
Temporary changes to diesel standards would be allowed to enable all Australian refineries to use excess jet fuel supplies. This would 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 Minister said on Monday.
“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.”
Taylor in April announced 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,” he added.