News dalla rete ITA

12 Febbraio 2021



Australia’s embattled oil refining sector is set to suffer another heavy blow, with ExxonMobil expected to announce the closure of its 72-year-old Altona refinery in Victoria on Wednesday. The US energy giant is understood to have advised the Victorian government of its decision, which comes less than five months after fellow international major BP pulled the plug on its only remaining refinery in Australia, at Kwinana in Western Australia. The closures fly in the face of the determined bid by the Morrison government to secure the future of the country’s shrunken refining sector, with a $2.5 billion fuel security package announced last September that offers a direct subsidy for petrol, diesel and aviation fuel. Only one of Australia’s four remaining refineries has accepted the subsidy – Viva Energy’s Geelong plant – and expectations across the industry have been that it would not be enough to keep Exxon from closing the outdated and inefficient Altona plant. The country’s four refineries had combined losses of hundreds of millions of dollars last year after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated demand for jet fuel and hit refining margins. The small and outdated plants have been unable to offset the impacts of the weak market by cost-cutting and production cutbacks, with the two plants in Victoria being particularly hammered during Melbourne’s extended lockdown. The closure of Kwinana, which is due to stop processing oil this March quarter, will mean the loss of almost 600 jobs and the shutdown of Altona is expected to lead to up to 350 more jobs going. The refinery, which opened in 1949, is central to the industrial heartland of Victoria, producing about half the state’s petrol output or about 14.5 million litres a day of refined products when fully operating. It also supplies critical feedstocks for the Altona chemical complex next door, signalling a threat to chemical manufacturing plants too if its production is lost.  (ICE SYDNEY)

Fonte notizia: AFR