ACIL Tasman, on behalf of the Federal Department of Resources, Energy & Tourism, has completed a comprehensive Audit of terminals suitable for importing petroleum products into Australia. The findings of the Audit are outlined in ACIL's Tasman's report - 'Petroleum Import Infrastructure in Australia' – released by the Minister for Resources and Energy on 24 August 2009.
The Audit Report is a comprehensive stocktake of Australia's liquid fuel import infrastructure and involved extensive consultation with key market participants and stakeholders. The Report details the operation and economic structure of the industry at this level, as well as the ownership, commercial and access arrangements that are currently applying to this infrastructure around Australia. As a result, it provides a sound factual basis for assessing these aspects of the operation of the wholesale fuels market in Australia and for assessing claims about constraints to import competition in the fuels market.
The Audit's main conclusion is that existing import infrastructure and planned investments will result in spare capacity emerging in all jurisdictions except the Northern Territory over the two years from December 2008 and that, in general, the current operating environment and access arrangements do not impose material competition constraints for importers of petroleum products. For example, the Report indicates that "there is a total of 270 ML (million litres) of additional storage capacity in Australia currently under construction or committed, which is around 9 per cent of total storage capacity in Australia. Of this, 64 per cent is being installed by independent terminal operators." This highlights the significant investments that the downstream petroleum industry has been making to continue to reliably deliver fuel to Australian consumers and ensure the ongoing robustness of the Australian fuel supply chain.
The Government will consider the recommendations of the Audit in the context of long-term supply and demand issues, through the Energy White Paper process.