Australian refinery sale sparks fuel supply fears

THE planned sale of another Australian oil refinery has drawn criticism from industry analysts, who fear for the stability of the nation’s fuel supply.
Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to sell its Geelong refinery was announced in early April, putting about 500 jobs in jeopardy.
The refinery currently provides about 50 per cent of Victoria’s fuel supply and 30 per cent of supply in South Australia.
Proposed sale of the 120,000-barrels-perday facility underpins Shell’s local strategy to grow its retail and bulk fuels business, along with terminals and pipelines.
If a suitable buyer is not found by the end of 2014, Shell reported it would convert the Geelong refinery into an import terminal.
This would take the number of operating Australian refineries to just four, following the 2012 closure of Shell’s Clyde refinery and the conversion of Caltex’s Kurnell refinery to an import terminal, both in Sydney.
Shell Australia downstream vice-president Andrew Smith said the interim period would be difficult for employees, but the company would offer support.
“I understand this announcement will be difficult for refinery employees, but Shell will support them through this period of uncertainty,” he said.
“Refinery employees in Geelong have made a significant contribution to both Shell and the local community over many years, supporting the economy in south east Australia.”
Shell plans to focus investment on large-scale sites, such as the Pulau Bukom refinery in Singapore.

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