South Australia is staring down the barrel of a potential oil crisis with just 10 days’ supply in reserve.

Posted on November 4, 2014

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My translator Michael Lardelli is now also active in the energy discussions in Australia.

South Australia is staring down the barrel of a potential oil crisis with just 10 days’ supply in reserve.

Adelaide University’s Michael Lardelli, the co-author of a new book on the risks of declining oil production, says we need to boost our reserve capacity to the 90 days mandated by the International Energy Agency.

“This is a national security issue,” he said. “You cannot institute fuel rationing if there is no fuel to ration.

“We also need government intervention to promote the use of compressed natural gas in trucking, and for rural communities to provide their own biodiesel to drive agricultural machinery.”

However, plans to increase the State’s storage capacity depend largely on big future projects. At the same time, these investments, such as the Olympic Dam mine expansion, will increase the demand for liquid fuels such as diesel.

The IEA report on oil and gas security reveals that since 2010, Australia has failed to comply with the glo-bal treaty and keep stocks in reserve to cover 90 days of net imports.

Geneticist Dr Lardelli, who helped prominent Swedish scientist Kjell Aleklett summarise a decade of research for the new book Peeking at Peak Oil, is worried.

He said our “just-in-time” supply from Singapore was putting us at great risk, adding: “We will continue in ignorance until the first major disruption hits”.

“As world oil supplies decrease, we are going to see our supply become less secure and one day I don’t know whether it will be in a year or five years’ time we will see a disruption,” he said.

But the Government says SA’s supply is not at risk. A spokesman said “supply situations tend to be brief because there are generally three to four ships en route to South Australia at any time”.

“Future delivery schedules are planned weeks in advance and stock levels held at the Birkenhead storage terminals average around seven days’ supply with service stations’ storage tanks averaging around three days’ supply; which means it is unlikely that a single shipping delivery delay will have a significant impact,” he said.

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