Shell Australia looks to sell Geelong refinery

Shell Australia is looking for a buyer for its only refinery in southeastern Australia, the Geelong refinery, as part of Shell’s global strategy to concentrate investments on large-scale sites, such as the company’s Pulau Bukom refinery in Singapore.

The Geelong refinery can process up to 120,000 b/d. In an Apr. 4 news release, Shell said other parties are likely to want to enter or expand in the Australian refining market.

The 118,000-b/cd facility, opened in 1954, is about 50 km west of Melbourne in Victoria.

The plant produces ultralow-sulfur diesel among a wide range of products (OGJ Online, July 16, 2002).

OGJ’s statistics for Geelong show capacities of 40,000 b/cd catalytic cracking, 11,000 b/cd semiregenerative catalytic reforming, 20,000 b/cd cyclic catalytic reforming, and 113,500 b/cd hydrotreating (OGJ, Dec. 3, 2012).

Andrew Smith, Shell Refining (Australia) Pty. Ltd. vice-president, said he hopes to conclude a sale by yearend 2014. If it cannot negotiate a sale on acceptable terms, Shell said options include converting the Geelong refinery into an import terminal.

Shell has done that with its former Clyde refinery in Sydney where conversion is under way.

Separately, Caltex Australia Ltd. recently announced plans to convert its Kurnell refinery in Sidney to an import terminal. Chevron Corp. owns half of Caltex Australia.

Shell has operated in Australia for more than 110 years. It supplies fuel to around 900 Shell-branded service stations across Australia—along with aviation fuel, marine fuel, chemicals, bitumen, and lubricants.

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