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BP to close Bulwer Refinery as Asian competition bites

BP Australia will cease production at its Bulwer Island Refinery in May, according to a BP Australia spokesperson, who confirmed that an agreement was signed with Caltex for the supply of petrol and diesel from Caltex’s Lytton, Brisbane refinery.

The 102,000 barrels a day, Brisbane, Queensland refinery will become a jet fuel import terminal.
“Alternate supply arrangements have been made and this includes a term agreement with Caltex for the provision of motor spirit and diesel from the nearby Lytton refinery,” BP Australia said.

BP Australia announced in April 2014 that it would halt refining operations at its 1960s-built Bulwer Island Refinery by mid-2015.

At the time, Andy Holmes, President of BP Australasia, said that the growth of very large refineries in the Asia-Pacific region was driving structural change within the fuels supply chain in Australia and putting huge commercial pressure on smaller scale plants.

“It’s against this background that we have concluded that the best option for strengthening BP’s long-term supply position in the east coast retail and commercial fuels markets is to purchase product from other refineries,” he said.

BP has a network of around 1300 retail petrol stations and convenience stores.

BP’s 146,000 barrel-per-day Kwinana refinery in Western Australia supplies the states of WA, South Australia and Tasmania.

“There are no planned changes to the operation of the Kwinana refinery, provided Kwinana keeps delivering year-on-year improvement in the areas of safety and reliability,” a BP Australia spokesperson said.

In March, Caltex’s 50% shareholder Chevron exited Caltex Australia’s share registry, seen by Caltex as an opportunity to pursue acquisitions. Caltex recently closed the Kurnell refinery and moved to focus on its fuel distribution and retailing business.

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