The State of Australia’s Fuel Refineries
- 26 August 2019
Australia’s fuel refineries play a major role in the fuel supply chain, producing half of the transport fuels needed to operate vehicles and machinery every day.
The big four refineries
You might think we have a lot of refineries to cater to our large population, but did you know we only have four in total?
- Altona (Mobil) located in Melbourne which produces 5 billion litres per year. Open since 1949. Petrol represents 60% of production, diesel is 30% and jet fuel is 10%.
- Lytton (Caltex) located in Brisbane which produces 6.5 billion litres per year
- Geelong (Viva Energy) which produces 7.5 billion litres per year. It supplies over 50% of Victoria’s and 10% of Australia’s fuel and employs around 700 people. They are one of the few in the Southern Hemisphere that produce avgas, which is used by piston engine planes.
- Kwinana Refinery (BP) – opened in 1955 and is the only refinery in Western Australia. It is the largest oil refinery in Australia
Over the last 10 years, half of Australia’s refineries shut down, including Bulwer Island (2014) and Port Stanvac (2009). While Clyde Refinery, which was the oldest Australian refinery, and Kurnell Refinery have both been converted into a fuel import terminal.
The recent closures have been attributed to domestic and global trends impacting negatively on Australia’s domestic refining competitiveness.
Quick facts about Australian fuel refineries
- 65% - the total petrol produced by Australia’s four refineries
- $2 billion was invested in Australian refineries between 2012 and 2017
- The average industry annual profit for all fuel sold is 2c per litre
- Australian oil refineries contribute $1 billion per year to the Australian economy
- Each refinery process approximately 75 million litres of crude oil each day which is equivalent to 30 Olympic swimming pools
What are Australian refineries doing to ensure security
Last year we reported that Australia’s fuel security was in doubt, with only 18 days of petrol, 22 days of diesel and 23 of jet fuel in the reserve. Not only do we not have the internationally mandated 90-day stockpile, but we are on track to be 100% reliant on imported petroleum by 2030.
We’ve previously written about where Australian fuel comes from, but what is being done to secure our supplies in case of disruption? According to a former high-ranking Air Force officer, the government is doing “bugger all” to bolster Australia’s fuel security. As of August 2019, Australia was in talks with the US to access millions of barrels of oil from America’s own fuel reserve.
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