China may have halted all exports of urea to Australia, the key ingredient in AdBlue, but the Morrison government wants the industry to know there is no cause for concern.
A media statement today from Energy Minister Angus Taylor said there are currently in excess of 15 million litres of AdBlue supplies on hand, which is equivalent to close to five weeks of business-as-usual demand.
There are also “multiple shipments” of refined urea currently on their way to Australia, which are estimated to provide over two weeks of additional supply.
Advice provided to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources from AdBlue manufacturers is that this is within range of normal stockholding levels, the statement added.
Taylor’s office also said that industry is reporting that other international supply chains are open and operating, a positive indication of ongoing supply options in the medium term.
At the request of the Prime Minister, Taylor, along with the Department for Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, will now lead a coordinated whole-of-government effort to ensure reliable and ongoing supply of AdBlue in close cooperation with industry.
Minister Taylor said businesses and consumers buying additional stocks is unnecessary and unhelpful, and urged industry to continue operating as per usual and maintain normal levels.
“We are quickly and actively working to ensure supply chains of both refined urea and AdBlue are secure so that industry can have certainty on their operations,” Minister Taylor said.
“I can assure Australians that the government is working to ensure we do not face any shortages. We are pursuing a range of measures to address global pressures in the urea market. We will keep our trucks running and Australian motorists on the road.”
As an added assurance, Taylor also today announced the establishment of the AdBlue taskforce, alongside Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan.
The taskforce will be led by James Fazzino, chair of Manufacturing Australia and former CEO of Incitec Pivot, along with Andrew Liveris, former chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company and director at Saudi Aramco, and Dr Cathy Foley, Australia’s chief scientist. Additional industry members will be confirmed in due course.
“The taskforce will work across government and with industry to develop solutions to any potential future supply constraints,” the statement reads.
“Options being explored include alternative international supply options for refined urea, bolstering local manufacturing capabilities and technical options at the vehicle level.”
Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia CEO Todd Hacking applauded Taylor for taking the lead on the AdBlue issue.
“At the same time, alternative sources for importing urea are being explored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Industry,” said Hacking in a statement.
“This could potentially include countries like Indonesia, Turkey or Saudi Arabia.
“If we can avoid panic buying and hoarding, Australia’s supply should be secure until at least February or March, providing the breathing space to find a solution.
“Don’t be mistaken – action must be taken urgently, but it is wrong to think nothing is being done.”