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Australia endorses international energy plan

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DPIE 91/16G 12 Jan u ary 1991


The G overning B oard of th e In tern atio n al Energy Agency (IEA) m et in Paris la s t nig h t, th e M in ister for Resources, Mr Alan G riffiths announced today. A u stra lia w as rep re se n te d a t th e meeting.

M r G riffiths said th a t th e IEA had expressed hope for a peaceful resolution to th e G ulf crisis. How ever, th e IEA had concluded th a t it was now pru d en t to com plete p re p a ra tio n s for a rapid, effective and concerted energy emergency response in th e event of hostilities in the Gulf.

"Accordingly, th e IEA m eeting adopted a coordinated emergency response contingency p lan for use in anticipation of any possible tem porary shortfall in oil supplies, "M r G riffiths said.

"The objective of th e p lan adopted by the IEA is to m ake available to th e m arket some 2.5 m illion b a rre ls p e r day of oil. This is equivalent to a little less th an 7 p e r cent of IEA m em ber countries' oil consumption."

IEA m em ber countries, w hich include m ost m ajor W estern economies, have agreed to a p la n to reduce th e ir dem and on world oil m arkets by th is amount, th ro u g h a com bination of stock draw down, conservation and dem and re s tra in t.

"In th is connection, i t is w orth noting th a t IEA m em ber governm ents hold over 140 m illion to n n es of crude oil stocks, available to be draw n on in an em ergency, as well as com m ercial stocks of over double th a t am ount."

"The p lan w ould be activated in th e event th a t G ulf hostilities broke out and th ere w as su b s ta n tia l fu rth e r disruption to world oil supplies.

"The A u stra lia n G overnm ent supports the principle of coordinated and timely action by IEA m em ber country Governm ents to m itigate the im pact of any d isru p tio n to w orld oil m ark e ts flowing from events in the Gulf."

M r G riffiths said th a t A u stralia w as well placed to m eet its contribution to the IEA plan, noting th a t petroleum dem and had declined in the four consecutive m onths to Decem ber.


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"C onservation m ea su re s ta k e n to d ate under existing policies, including the pricing policy w hich allow ed w orld prices to be reflected in petroleum product prices, h ad co ntributed to th is situation. These policies will continue."

Stocks of crude oil and petroleum products held by refiners and m arketers in A u stra lia are equiv alen t to 300 days of our net petroleum im port requirem ents.

"On th e basis of c u rre n t assessm en ts, m easures such as rationing are not expected to be necessary to m eet th e IEA plan."

A u stra lia would continue to p u rsu e policies which have reduced its dem and on w orld oil m a rk e ts th ro u g h increased domestic oil production, g reater su b stitu tio n of o th er energy sources for petroleum, and m easures which re s tra in d em and for petroleum .

M r G riffiths said th a t th e position would continue to be m onitored closely. In p a rtic u la r, should th e p la n be triggered, the Government, in consultation with th e oth er M em ber countries of th e IEA, will assess the energy im plications and decide on any m odifications.

A copy of the lEA 's P re ss R elease is attached for inform ation.

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