Oil and energy giant BP has announced plans to close down its refinery in Brisbane, Australia, citing an inability to compete with large refinery complexes in the Asia Pacific region as the main reason for its decision. Production at the Bulwer Island refinery is expected to be phased out by the middle of 2015, the company said.
The facility has been in operation since 1965 but it was acquired by BP in 1984. Currently, the Bulwer Island refinery works at a capacity of 102,000 barrels per day, producing petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel and heating oil. In 2000 the refinery underwent a major upgrade to produce low-sulfur fuels. The 380 employees at the refinery are expected to be reduced to 25 between now and next year. Overall, changes that need to be implemented in order to maintain supply while other arrangements come into effect and to safely halt processes at the refinery are expected to take approximately 12 months, BP announced.
Andy Holmes, president of BP Australasia, explained that smaller refineries have been facing serious competitive pressure from large refineries in Asia Pacific. The rapid growth of the Asian refinery market lately has led to "structural changes in the fuels supply chain in Australia." That is why BP decided that it was best for the company to buy products from other refiners. Holmes added that although the move would be of great benefit to BP's competitive position, the company realized that it would cost valuable jobs and was ready to assist workers in the transition.