Australian government considers controlling fuel supplies

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Monday, June 16, 2008

The gas crisis in Western Australia continues to deepen with more businesses standing people down without pay. Businesses have been instructed to turn off non-essential items including limiting the number of lifts and reduced lighting; domestic customers are also urged to reduce energy use.

In the Federal parliament today Resources Minister Martin Ferguson raised the prospect of activating the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act. "During such a situation, I can control the production, transfer and stock levels of crude and liquid fuel...While I sincerely hope that this will not be required, the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act provides authority for the Australian Government to prepare for and manage a national liquid fuel supply emergency," he said.

Western Australian Premier Alan Carpenter called on all Western Australians to reduce energy usage, saying that the situation could be managed with on going co-operation, while reassuring everyone that the crisis will be short, with the Apache Corporation expected to begin partial operations in two months. Supplies were interrupted after a fire at Apache's Vanarus Island refinery, which supplied 30% of the state's natural gas requirements.

An Alinta spokesman has said that with the expected cold weather during the next week demand will put further pressure on supplies, advising that it is critical that all consumers limit energy usage.

Alinta requests that residential customers;

  • use only essential heating and limit it to one room
  • turn down hot water system by 10 degrees
  • reduce shower times
  • wash in cold water.

While suggesting small businesses;

  • shift production schedules
  • bring forward maintenance and shut down schedules
  • turn off equipment not essential to the business.

Sources

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