Ampol’s sole oil refinery at Lytton in Brisbane has exceeded fourth quarter expectations, reporting a $4m loss and bringing the full year loss to $145m.

Analysts had predicted a full year loss of $165m for the struggling refinery, but despite the better than expected results the future of Ampol’s last remaining refinery still hangs in the balance with economic conditions remaining uncertain in 2021.

Ampol said: “While the 4Q result is above consensus, economic conditions in 2021 remain uncertain as a result of continued COVID-19 impacts on international and domestic demand, further depressing already soft regional refining margins and the strengthening Australian dollar experienced over recent months also works against the available LRM when expressed in Australian dollars.”

Ampol is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Lytton refinery, which is expected to be complete in the first half of 2021.

The review is considering all options for the facility’s operations with closure and the permanent transition to an import model both being considered.

Speaking of the review, Ampol Managing Director and CEO, Matt Halliday, said: “We must continue to deliver strong returns on capital and this review will allow us to be proactive in determining the best course of action to protect our balance sheet, improve earnings certainty and maximise shareholder value from our integrated supply chain. The review is also an important step to ensure the ongoing competitive cost of liquid fuel supply to our customers.”

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