Emergency fuel supply group to discuss ‘worst-case scenario’ plans for winter – The Irish Times

The Government’s emergency energy group will meet on Tuesday to formulate a contingency plan for supplying bulk fuels to food and medicine production sectors in the event of a serious interruption to oil supply this winter.

Officials and industry figures will meet to further develop contingency plans in case severe shortages require fuel rationing. The plans are part of a “worst-case scenario” and would come into effect in the event of severe oil supply disruption in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A source said Tuesday’s focus would be on how to supply bulk fuels to medicine and food production sectors, and other critical healthcare sectors, in the event of a serious interruption.

It is understood the Government is also coming under pressure from industry to map out the exact locations of the 130 service stations in a planned network that would supply fuel to critical workers in the event of such an emergency.

More than 40 categories of emergency and essential workers would be given access to the stations under the plan, but the service stations would only be given four hours’ notice if such a plan is triggered. Sources have confirmed that there is now a push to inform the service stations much further in advance that they are the designated outlets, in order to give them time to prepare.

Contingency plans are being drawn up as part of work by the Government’s new Energy Security Emergency Group, which is planning for potential oil or gas shortages and examining modeling scenarios. The body has various subgroups looking specifically at gas security, oil security and communications strategies among other topics. Tuesday’s meeting is of the oil subgroup, it is understood.

In response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD John Brady, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan said work was continuing on contingency plans but that big shocks were not expected.

“In terms of the supply of oil products, including oil used for home-heating purposes, the supply outlook is positive, with no significant supply difficulties expected by the Government or the oil companies. Notwithstanding this, the National Oil Reserves Agency (Nora) currently holds approximately 85 days of oil stocks, including considerable quantities of home-heating kerosene, which can be utilized in the event of any shortage of product arising in the markets.

“In the context of contingency planning to deal with any prolonged and severe oil emergency, work continues on operational planning for all scenarios. Included in such planning is the prioritization of supplies of oil products to operators of the emergency and critical services, including for the provision of healthcare, which encompasses care and nursing homes.”

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