In a world dominated by policy discussion about the Net Zero 2050 agenda, you could be forgiven for thinking that our politicians seem to have lost sight of fuel security. The reality is that the continued security of the supply of conventional fuels will be vital for the economic and social well-being of Australia’s economy, as we collectively transition to Net Zero and low carbon mobility in the future.

The importance of maintaining a strong focus on fuel security was reinforced by the release of a major report this week. The report concluded that the Australian economy will have to find an additional $AUD1.5 trillion by the end of the decade if it is to meet its’ 2050 Greenhouse Gas reduction targets (see Final modelling results | Net Zero Australia).

Compiled by Net Zero Australia, the expert study of Australia’s path to net zero was completed by a group of Australian and international universities, led by the University of Melbourne. The report suggested that the scale of Australia’s Net Zero infrastructure challenge was equivalent to the reconstruction of Europe after World War 2.

“By any measure, the transition of Australia’s economy to net zero by 2050 is a massive economic and technical task. Well beyond the scale of anything we have ever attempted before, it comes with significant economic and social risks if we get it wrong”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie

The considerable uncertainty about whether Australia’s Net Zero goals are achievable within the proposed 2050 timeframe reinforces the need for Australia to place an equal focus on ensuring that Australia continues to have the energy needed to power its on-road and off-road (i.e. agriculture, mining, and construction) vehicle fleets seamlessly through the transition.

“That means continuing to invest in conventional fuel security infrastructure to keep Australia economically safe, while simultaneously making commercially sound investments in low carbon mobility infrastructure”, said Mark.

In effect, the Australian fuel industry needs to be able to ‘walk and chew gum’ at the same time when it comes to supporting the future achievement of Australia’s Net Zero 2050 agenda.

In a major example of this requirement in action, IOR officially opened its new diesel only import and storage terminal in Lytton this week. The facility will provide an additional 12 days of diesel supply security for the SE Queensland market – a market that has experienced some supply challenges in recent years due to major flooding events along the Brisbane River.

The facility comprises a 110ML diesel storage facility that is connected to a new wharf deck and loading arms via a 4km pipeline (including 2km underground). The berth can unload the largest LR2 tankers (i.e. 100M litre cargoes). The diesel only storage facility includes a new, state-of-the-art terminal loading gantry that is capable of filling two road tankers simultaneously at a rate of 2400 litres per minute at each loading arm.

During the launch event on Wednesday, it was clear that the opening of the new facility was a very proud moment in the evolution of IOR – a company that has evolved from the modest, wholly Australian-owned and operated petroleum producer of 38 years ago, to one that now ranks amongst the largest energy and infrastructure providers in Australia.

And that point wasn’t lost on Executive Director Ross MacKenzie who drew the audience’s attention to the fact that, of the two sets of loading arms provided on the berth shared with a neighbouring fuel company, IOR’s loading arms were “the taller ones”.

The new terminal is a major element in IOR’s continued focus on providing a reliable supply to all its’ customers by taking charge of the entire supply chain, as part of the Company’s promise to customers to ensure round-the-clock access to the fuel needed to power their operations.

“We now control everything from the ship unloading to the nozzle used by the customer to fill their tank”, said IOR Executive Director Ross MacKenzie.

Managing Director Stewart Morland was also rightly and equally proud. He pointed to the fact that IOR was a business that operated with a simple philosophy.

“We have a saying at IOR. We get shit done. We make things happen. And no job is too big to master. I am so lucky to have, to lead, a team of dedicated employees that have the same ‘can do’ attitude as I do”, Stewart said.

The on-time and on budget delivery of this project, particularly given the challenges faced by the commercial construction industry over the past year, is yet another example of this philosophy in practice at IOR.

“While we have 38 years of experience as a business behind us, there is a long and exciting journey ahead for IOR”, Stewart concluded.

IOR’s new terminal is a significant development in the Australian fuel industry’s collective commitment to ensuring that Australia has a reliable, sufficient, and affordable supply of conventional transport fuels into the future.

“IOR’s leadership in the development of this facility is a tangible example that Australia’s fuel security is in good hands as we move to embrace the economic and technical challenges of the massive energy transition that lays ahead for our country”, concluded Mark.

ACAPMA congratulates Ross MacKenzie, Stewart Morland and the entire IOR team (and their supporting contractors) on the commissioning of a new and vital element in Australia’s fuel supply chain.

A short video of IOR’s new Lytton import and storage facility can be viewed at IOR Lytton Terminal – video