Gas the key to strengthening Australia’s transport fuel security

Gas the key to strengthening Australia’s transport fuel security
(Left to right) Chief scientist of Australia Professor Ian Chubb, report editor Dr Mark Thomson, Senator Matthew Canavan and report editor professor Robert Clark at Parliament House

Using natural gas as a transport fuel has the potential to increase Australia’s fuel security, according to new research.

Transport Fuels from Australia’s Gas Resources – Advancing the nation’s energy security, was officially launched at Parliament House in December, and is the product of research by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the Grattan Institute, the South Australian Department of State Development, the United States Studies Centre and CO2CRC.

Editors of the report, Transport Fuels from Australia’s Gas Resources– Advancing the nation’s energy security, Professor Robert Clark and Dr Mark Thomson, said it’s timely the use of Australian natural gas as a transport fuel be considered as part of government policy.

“One way to reduce Australia’s exposure to potential disruption of supply of imported oil is to start using more of our own natural gas for transport, particularly in the road freight sector,” Professor Clark said.

“Australia’s fuel self-sufficiency could be increased to 50 to 70 per cent by 2030 through using natural gas as a transport fuel, compared to just 30 to 40 per cent using current fuel sources.”

Given 75 per cent of Australia’s road freight is carried by just 87,000 heavy articulated trucks, the publication calls for government and industry to work together to help accelerate increased uptake of domestically supplied natural gas as a trucking fuel.

The report immediately followed the commissioning of BOC’s domestic micro LNG plant in Queensland, where the Queensland Premier Campbell Newman announced a commitment to a state energy and fuel plan, including increased focus on fuel technologies like LNG and CNG to help diversify the state’s fuel mix, provide environmental benefits, develop and retain skilled jobs, and improve cost effectiveness.

Engineers Australia has also released a report recognising the need for Australia to develop comprehensive energy security policy that will also retain and grow skilled Australian jobs in a vibrant local fuel sector.

Gas Energy Australia chief executive officer Mike Carmody said there is a growing range of credible expert groups pointing to the need to plan for future fuel diversity and it’s imperative the Energy White Paper addresses the urgent need for a strategic transport fuels policy.

“The fuel affordability and environmental benefits of using natural gas as an alternative transport fuel to diesel align with Gas Energy Australia’s 2030 Vision for Cleaner, Cheaper Australian Fuels,” he said.

“The campaign aims to educate the Australian public about the potential of natural gas and allows them to petition the government for action via a website.”