General

Government review into fuel shortage management

DEBORAH SECCOMBE

A FUEL supply disruption strategy has been prescribed following a government inquiry into the handling of the 2008 Varanus Island gas explosion, said Office of Energy spokeswoman Stephanie Doeltsch.

Fuel supply from Apache Energy’s Varanus Island gas plant was disrupted for two months after operations were shut down because of an explosion on site.

WA lost 30 per cent of its gas supply because of the disruptions.

Fuel supply disruptions had been prescribed as a hazard that needed to be managed under the State’s Emergency Management Act 2005 in December 2010.

Ms Doeltsch said the prescription, Westplan – Liquid Fuel Supply Disruption, had been drafted to manage fuel supplies in WA in the case of similar fuel supply disruptions occurring.

Westplan – Liquid Fuel Supply Disruption applies to disruptions to the supply of aviation fuel, petrol, diesel and [liquefied petroleum gas] in WA.

“In a very severe supply disruption it may become necessary to implement mandatory restraint measures,” Ms Doeltsch said.

In the case of such a fuel shortage the type and degree of supply would be based on a priority system.

“Exactly what [the priority system] will involve differs between the general public (people who buy fuel from retail outlets), ‘bulk users’ (customers who purchase large amounts of fuel directly from suppliers and have their own fuel storage) and essential users (emergency services, essential service providers, public transport services),” she said.

However Ms Doeltsch said while the plan had been implemented in the case of disruptions, there was currently no indication of a fuel supply shortage in any of Australia’s fuel markets.

“The Australian liquid fuel market has considerable diversity and security of supply,” she said.

The Westplan – Liquid Fuel Supply Disruption was recommended by the Gas Supply and Emergency Management Committee, established by the WA Government in the wake of the Varanus Island gas explosion.

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