Government to be given powers over fuel distribution under emergency legislation

Government to be given powers over fuel distribution under emergency legislation

The government is to be given sweeping powers to take over the fuel distribution system in the event of an emergency as part of new legislation to be published this autumn.

The Oil Emergency Contingency and Transfer of Renewable Transport Fuels Functions Bill 2022 will include emergency planning for oil shortages on a statutory basis by giving the Minister for Environment powers to control the use and sale of fuel, establishing an emergency planning register of suppliers and providing for data transfer from Revenue to give proper oversight of national oil consumption in real-time.

The bill will be introduced by Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Environment, in the coming months, according to the Business Post.

It comes as minutes of the Energy Security Emergency Group (ESEG), released under freedom of information, show emergency plans to limit sales of petrol and diesel at forecourts through a “technical solution” at fuel pumps that could cap the volumes that can be dispensed at an individual pump.

The legislation and the plans being prepared by ESEG would only be used in the event of a serious oil supply shock that resulted in shortages of liquid fuels in Ireland. The ESEG thinks this is a very low-probability, even with wider gas supply issues due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment said the details of the bill were being finalised and would be subject to government approval.

“In broad terms the purpose of the Bill is to strengthen the statutory underpinning of oil emergency contingency and response measures, to provide for Government’s response to a severe and prolonged oil emergency,” the spokeswoman said.