I don’t have a horse in the Peak Oil race, but Energy Security is too important to let the government “disappear” inconvenient reports. As David Archibald points out, at one time the Australian Government went to great lengths to make sure we would be more self sufficient. Lately there are times when Australia doesn’t even have three months supply.– Jo
Guest Post by David Archibald
Inconvenient report disappeared
About a week ago, the Australian Government released what it called a “Draft Energy White Paper”. It is available here: http://www.ret.gov.au/energy/facts/white_paper/draft-ewp-2011/Pages/Draft-Energy-White-Paper-2011.aspx
The White Paper contains a number of strange statements and inanities:
Page 67: “For a major global energy exporter like Australia, pursuing a goal of national energy self‐sufficiency is counterintuitive.”
Page 69: “Energy security does not equate to energy independence or self‐sufficiency in any particular energy source.”
Page 123: “As a result of increased daily net imports in recent years, the level of oil stocks in Australia has regularly fallen below the 90‐day requirement since mid‐2010. The National Energy Security Assessment found that this does not indicate an emerging domestic energy security problem. However, Australia’s stockholding obligation is an important compliance issue under an international treaty that is intended to be a credible response mechanism to a major global oil supply disruption. The Australian Government is currently considering possible options to respond to this issue.”
It is interesting that the Federal Government wants Australia to be an example to the World with the carbon tax, but is also aware that it is breaking a treaty obligation with respect to oil stock levels.
What is most interesting about the Energy White Paper is what it does not mention. That is Report 117 produced by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics which in turn is part of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. Anthony Albanese is the Minister.
Report 117 is entitled “Transport energy futures: long-term oil supply trends and projections”. This report was not only not mentioned in the White Paper, it has been disappeared from the Departmental website. No reference to it exists. As ASPO notes on its website – “This report is no longer available from BITRE, but no reason has been given for its withdrawal. The report is available on a French website [PDF].
So an Australian Government report is not available on an Australian Government website but is available on a French website.
Why would that be?
It would be because Report 117 contradicts the findings of the Energy White Paper which says,”Demand for petroleum fuels will continue to be strong, although this will be increasingly met by a growing level of imported product through well‐established and proven supply chains.”
Report 117 is the best analysis of peak oil that I have seen
…the World’s oil supply is going to fall off a cliff.
It is a very detailed, thorough, and methodically correct report forecasting oil supply to the end of the century. What it says is that the World’s oil supply is going to fall off a cliff. The words the report actually uses are, ”A predicted shallow decline in the short run should give way to a steeper decline after 2016.”
Figure 13.9 from the report sums up the situation:
The red line is the annual discovery rate of oil, which peaked two generations ago in the early 1960s. The green line is the predicted production rate to 2100. Looking at the green line, the conclusion you come to is that we are going to have to find something else besides oil to fuel our cars and industry, and we have to do that very soon if we want to avoid a lot of pain. The current oil price means that coal-to-liquids is a commercially viable way of avoiding that pain. That would involve producing a lot of carbon dioxide. The Federal Government would rather sacrifice liquid fuel self-sufficiency, and thus national security, on the altar of global warming than admit that there is a problem.
Once upon a time the Australian Government recognized the importance of energy security
Back in the 1960s, Australia imported almost all of the oil it consumed. The Federal Government subsidized oil exploration because it was then commonly realized how important liquid fuel self-sufficiency was to national security. When the Bass Strait oilfields were discovered, the low price of oil imported from the Middle East made them uneconomic to develop. So the Federal Government imposed a tax on imported oil in order to make their development economic. Liquid fuel self-sufficiency is the foundation of national security.
If and when Australia is involved in a regional conflict, or even if the conflict does not involve us, the first ships to be sunk will be the crude carriers. Not a drop of oil or refined product will reach these shores. It is idiotic to think that we will get supply from Singapore when Singapore will be in the conflict zone.
The Draft Energy White Paper has the provision for submissions, including electronically, by 16th March 2012. I recommend that everyone who cares about this country go to that French website, download the report and then on-send it to the Energy White Paper Secretariat, contactable here: http://www.ret.gov.au/energy/facts/white_paper/sub_process/Pages/default.aspx
When you make your submission, copy it to your Federal member of parliament.
Australia’s standard of living is being sacrificed on the altar of global warming. It may end up that the whole country will be sacrificed on that altar. Report 117 should be used to stop that possible future.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in a guest post are those of the author.