MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM.N urged the Australian government to start providing assistance to the country’s refineries in January following last week’s decision by BP plc BP.L to shut down the nation’s largest refinery.
Exxon has Australia’s oldest refinery at Altona near Melbourne, which can process 90,000 barrels of oil per day, the smallest of the nation’s four refineries. The site supplies about half of the fuel for the state of Victoria, which has been hit by one of the world’s longest and most stringent coronavirus lockdowns.
Exxon said the prolonged lockdown “has put unprecedented pressure” on Altona, causing the plant to suffer losses.
The Victorian government last week relaxed restrictions restricting people to the 5 km (3 mile) zone around their homes and allowed shops and restaurants to reopen for the first time since August 2.
The Australian Government is in talks with the refining industry about offering A $ 2.3 billion ($ 1.6 billion) of incentives over 10 years to keep refineries open to support national fuel security.
Exxon said the proposed six-month time frame for talks with the government was “too long given the short-term challenges faced by all refineries” and was working with refining industry groups and the government to get the first part of fuel safety. package released in January 2021.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said the government should take over BP’s plant in Kwinana, Western Australia, the only refinery on the west coast, to prevent fuel supply disruptions.
“More than 90 percent of Australia’s liquid fuel has already arrived via foreign-owned and operated tankers, but that figure will only increase if the Kwinana refinery is allowed to close,” MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray said in a statement.
($ 1 = 1.4259 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Edited by Christian Schmollinger