CANBERRA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Australia is seen as a global "free rider" on the International Energy Agency (IEA)'s oil security mechanism due to its low fuel stockpile, the Department of Energy and Environment has warned.
In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry on treaties, the department warned that Australia could be made to compensate the fuel supplies of other members of the IEA in the event of a global shortfall.
It warned that the current state of the stockpiles had damaged Australia's reputation among the IEA, which was established by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) after the 1973 oil crisis.
"Australia could be obliged by an international tribunal to make reparations (through restitution and compensation measures) to the International Energy Agency members if economic damage was attributable to Australia's non-compliance," the department's submission to the inquiry, which was published by News Corp Australia on Tuesday, said.
The IEA mandates that all member countries hold "equivalent to 90 days of net imports" in reserve.
Australia is the only member that does not meet the standard, with only 56 days of import coverage.
"Several IEA members perceive Australia to be free-riding on the IEA's oil security mechanism and that Australia is not a committed IEA member. This has been mitigated to an extent by progress on Australia's plan to return to compliance," said the department.
"Other IEA members could suspend or terminate Australia's participation in the Agreement on an International Energy Program due to non-compliance."