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Gas-powered freight transport a national security goal: expert

Political leadership needed to get ball rolling, senior energy academic says.


Eminent Australian energy expert professor Bob Clark has issued a clarion call for national energy security at a gas fuel industry gathering.

Three weeks before the Canberra launch of a 400-page book, Transport fuels from Australia’ s gas reserves, and on Remembrance Day, Clark, formerly a Navy man, cast the issue in national security policy terms.

He believes having more trucks on gas will cover a vulnerability and play to a strength, given the country is to become the third largest exporter of gas and there are plenty of reserves.

However, like other national security initiatives, it relies on political leadership for impetus. 

“It is time now to take out an insurance policy,” Clark told Gas Energy Australia’s (GEA) Gas 2014 industry forum.

He nominates Port Botany container transport as the strategic entry point, noting the GE can furnish small gas plants for about $50 million.

Clark’s comments come amid federal senator Ricky Muir’s call for an increase in the use of Australian gas as a transport fuel to improve fuel security.

Muir spoke at GEA’s conference today and used his speech to promote Australian gas an ideal alternative to foreign fuel.

“Australia is now 90 per cent dependent on imported liquid fuels and is moving towards 100 per cent dependency come 2030,” Muir says.

“A disruption to our supply of imported oil could be devastating, including not just empty petrol pumps, but shortages of food and medical supplies.”

“Australia should be supporting increased use of Australian gas as a secure alternative – it’s less polluting, more affordable and we have an abundant supply.”

GEA says Australia has natural gas reserves estimated to be equal to 184 years of supply at current production rates, and is totally self-sufficient in LPG.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) last week warned that the country may have insufficient oil on standby in case of an emergency.

The ATA claims Australia’s 52 days worth of fuel stocks is the lowest among member countries of the International Energy Agency, which advocates 90 days of emergency stock.

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