And the rout continues

2 04 2014

Following Shell’s February decision to sell its Australian refinery as well as 870 petrol stations to Vitol for $2.9 billion, BP is now following suit, shutting down its Bulwer Island refinery in Brisbane with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Andy Holmes, president of BP Australasia, told a press conference in Melbourne that “the refinery was being closed because BPthe emergence of major export-based refineries in Asia operating on a lower cost base had “transformed the industry””.  What, not Peak Oil……?

Mr Holmes said he did not believe that today’s decision would affect Australia’s energy security.  After all, the refinery only processes 101,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the BP website……. and what’s 12% of Australia’s consumption got to do with reality?

According to BP, the sale was part of a global move away from “downstream operations”.  It also sold refineries in the United Kingdom and Europe.  I wrote just last month, 2014 was the year many pundits forecast would be the beginning of the long decline from civilisation…. and the rout is on.  Australian Workers Union Queensland secretary Ben Swan says the decision has come as a “horrible shock” to workers.  REALLY??  It’s no shock to me….  what’s wrong with these people?  They should really start reading my blog to get proper information…!

Wayne Swan (remember him?) apparently said “there is no “adequate” explanation for why the plant is suddenly non-viable, as the company says.”  I think I better send Wayne a copy of this post…

And the thinly veiled outrage continues with Griffith University’s Dr Vlado Vivoda, who specialises in researching energy security, says “Our supplies are essentially subject to the security of supply lines that bring petroleum products from international markets, particularly from Singapore, which we are becoming increasingly reliant on,” and further stating “An event at a particular refinery in Singapore could have significant ramifications on our refined petroleum product supplies in Australia.”  Dr Vivoda also said Australia’s oil refining sector is likely to keep dwindling….  well who’d a thunk?

“I think this is not the last of refinery closures either… I wouldn’t be surprised if some others closed, even [BP’s Perth refinery] Kwinana at some point”.  Hmm, well we agree on that one……

“It just doesn’t appear to be profitable for big oil companies to run refineries in Australia that are old, that are small in capacity compared to international refineries. It’s simply not a viable business.”

No it isn’t is it, not when we are fast running out of oil….  but where is the public told the truth?  Only here it seems….  An old mate of mine works at this refinery, even bought a swanky SUV as a tax deduction last year.  I warned him this would happen…..   naah, wouldn’t hear of it.  Nobody wants to know….

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12 responses

2 04 2014
gbell12

It’s worth noting that there was a *buyer* of Shell’s assets. So someone thinks they can run them profitably.

This rout seems more of reaction to the 18% decline in Australia’s oil output last year. No need for local refining when the bottom’s falling out of the raw input.

2 04 2014
mikestasse

Vitol, I discovered after doing some research, is also in the business of moving a lot of oil presumably with its own tankers. So it might be that it’s hoping to make some dough over the next few years importing oil into the country…..

3 04 2014
lemmiwinks

Australia’s petrol (note, refined end product, not crude oil) comes, for the most part from Singapore. The smallest capacity refinery there can output 285,000 barrels per day. We generally import fuel, not crude, so there is absolutely no difference whatsoever. The tankers that used to bring crude will bring fuel instead.

4 04 2014
Tony Dickson

I must admit that is what occurred to me. If we are importing most of our oil, how much does it matter, in terms of security, whether it is crude or refined. Loss of jobs and expertise is another question.

4 04 2014
mikestasse

Well of course, “whether it is crude or refined” does not matter…… but what DOES matter is that we will soon be at the mercy of external forces for all our transport fuel.

4 04 2014
gbell12

Aren’t the inter-dependencies between all countries pervasive? Of course, some countries seem better positioned than others. Financial health, food security, and energy security seem like top categories.

3 04 2014
John P

Australia, on the shore of stupendous denial. Oh well, the tide will recede sooner or later and there we’ll be, sitting on the bones of our collective arse. Imagine the venom of the Cronulla riots of 2005 multiplied 100 fold…

4 04 2014
gbell12

Imagine fear-based doomer prophecies ignorant of the 100s that have come (and passed) before.

4 04 2014
John P

The problem denied, or postponed, is a problem made worse…

5 04 2014
MargfromTassie

Is it true that there is no effective or safe way to store petrol? Are any of you thinking of buying an all electric motor vehicle?
A horse even ? 😉

5 04 2014
mikestasse

Yes it is true……. I can tell you from personal experience that mixed two stroke fuel only lasts two months or so, and I’ve had problems with ordinary petrol not starting a mower that had fuel in it for a year…….. it started first pull with new fuel.

One of my many plans when I get to Tassie (I have to drive it there first..!) is to convert my ute to electric drive. I only want enough range to get from Geevo to Huonville and back…..

7 04 2014
Mulga Mumblebrain

When the collapse comes, having an electric vehicle will be an invitation for some ‘aspirational’ to ‘leverage’ it from your possession.

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