Australia is at risk of running out of fuel in the next few weeks due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. The escalating situation in the war-torn country threatens to cripple the supply chains that keep Australia going.
While the International Energy Agency mandates that countries hold a stock reserve “equivalent to 90 days of net imports,” Australia only has 43 days worth of supply, the Australian reports. And that could be cut down even further if a global crisis threatens supply channels from places like the Middle East.
Low oil reserves and an over-dependence on imports is what’s driving Austrailia’s fuel concerns. Defense Strategy and Capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute senior analyst Dr. Malcolm Davis says Australia’s fuel reserves would last “20 days at best” if supplies were cut off, News.com.au reports. “[Australia is] one of the few countries in the world that does not take our energy security seriously,” said Dr. Davis. “It would be a Mad Max world. Our society and our economy would begin to fall apart very quickly… [because] everything depends on fuel to make an economy run. It is very serious.”
The rather ominous forecast comes in the wake of major US-led strikes on the Syrian government. As tensions escalate and threaten to compromise international trade, this could prove dire for Australia: a nation that outsources its oil refining to such international locations as Singapore. “Instead of investing in refinement facilities here for refining fuel, the government has decided it’s cheaper to do it overseas,” said Dr. Davis. “The price they pay for that in a crisis is that China can interrupt flow to Australia [from Singapore] relatively easy and our economy falls apart.”
According to The Daily Mail UK, liberal Senator and former major general in the Australian Army Jim Molan agrees that “we [Australia] stand[s] in real trouble.” Speaking to 2GB on Monday Morning, Molan criticized the government’s passive approach to issues of fuel supply and energy security, calling it “a single point of failure for Australia.”
“The way that we seem to get around this is that we buy credits overseas which ignores the entire problem,” Nolan said. “Those credits say that if things go wrong we can buy from overseas, but hang on: our supply lines of communication by ship are likely to be either threatened or because of insurers nothing will come to us at all.”
Moreover, a chronic shortage of petrol, diesel, and aviation fuel could render the Australian military immobile, and in these times where rhetoric and tensions over a war are high, that could prove disastrous for the country.