Australian fuel import dependencies Sep 2021 Data

Diesel Imports

Fig 15: Diesel imports

Diesel imports increased from China since 2015 and also from a brand new Chinese refinery in Brunei. See Fig 18.

Fig 16: Diesel imports from China have been increasing but were nil in July/Aug 21

Fig 17: Australian diesel imports compared to China’s diesel exports

Fig 18: Diesel imports from Brunei

25/3/2021 Brunei peak oil – golden opportunity for China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Note that diesel imports from Taiwan increased as imports from China dropped in the last 3 months:

Fig 19: Monthly diesel imports in last 13 months

The recent diesel import dependency on North East Asia was 36%.

Petrol Imports

Fig 20: Petrol imports by country

Fig 21: Monthly petrol imports in last 13 months

Petrol imports from Singapore increased while those from South Korea decreased, thereby reducing the dependency on shipping lanes around Taiwan.

Fig 22: Covid impact of petrol consumption by State

Petrol consumption in all States dropped April 2020 but had recovered by November 2020. In the following period, NSW and Victoria were most impacted by consecutive Covid waves and lock-downs while other States closed their borders and carried on.

Fig 23: Petrol consumption in Victoria

Fig 24: NSW petrol consumption

NSW petrol consumption in NSW declined by 7% over the pre-Covid period 2010/11 – 2018/19 (= 0.9 % pa). That may be due to a switch to diesel SUVs and pick-ups.

Fig 25: Petrol decline vs diesel increase

Fig 26: 2 types of vehicles by diesel and petrol

This graph shows registrations for 2 vehicles types (passenger and light commercial)
• Diesel vehicles (columns, LHS scale)
• Petrol vehicles (line, RHS scale shifted to cover a range of 5 million vehicles)
From 2012 to 2021, the number of petrol vehicles increased by 680 K, while diesel vehicles went up by 2.5 million.

Jet Fuel Imports

Fig 27: Jet fuel imports by country

Due to border closures, jet fuel consumption was most hit by Covid and its variants. But there were aviation problems already in 2019

China-Australia passenger traffic has peaked 2018-19 before Covid


The closure of refineries has resulted in increasing fuel imports, mostly from neighbouring Asian countries, in varying volumes from month to month. This development exposes Australia to events, competitive pressures and geopolitical changes in these oil markets and that comes at a price. Oil production in Asia is in decline which means more crude oil imports, mainly from the Middle East. Therefore there are multiple layers of vulnerabilities, over which Australia has little control. This means that no more oil dependent infrastructure should be built like road tunnels and airports.

Previous posts:

Australia crude oil import vulnerabilities Sep 2021 data

Australia’s diesel imports on record high: Update June 2021