The ACCC has granted interim approval for Australia’s major oil refiners and the representative body for the industry, the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP) to work together to secure fuel supplies throughout Covid-19.

The move, announced yesterday, was made to ensure there was a steady supply of fuel both throughout the pandemic and for once heavy containment restrictions were lifted. And comes as demand for fuel continues to decline globally on the back of heavy travel restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the deadly virus.

Under the proposal, companies would not be able to coordinate prices, either for retail or wholesale fuel or storage. However AIP members and suppliers could make arrangements regarding crude oil and refined fuels, importers, storage and trucking/delivery services as well as wholesalers, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

BP Australia, Caltex Australia, Mobil Oil Australia and Viva Energy Australia are included in the interim authorisation, and other companies can apply to the ACCC to take part.

“We have authorised the measures by the petroleum industry to enable the companies to ensure the security of the fuel supply for Australian businesses and consumers, especially for when economic activity can increase again,” Mr Sims said.

“In these exceptional times, fuel companies will be allowed to co-ordinate the scheduling of fuel import, storage and delivery to maintain and increase supplies and minimise the risk of shortages.”

Mr Sims said the ACCC were also continuing to monitor petrol prices across Australia and to crack down on those charging excessive prices.

The watchdog is accepting feedback on the interim approval before granting final authorisation on the arrangement.

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