About petroleum refining in Australia
Refining petroleum is the process of producing physical and chemical changes in crude oil through distillation and other methods in order to convert it into products including petrol, diesel, jet fuel, fuel oil, lube oils, bitumen, heating oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
In Australia, four integrated refiner-marketers—BP Australia Pty Ltd, Caltex Australia Limited, Mobil Oil Australia Pty Ltd and the Shell Company of Australia—operate seven major refineries. IOR Energy Pty Ltd also operates a small refinery in south-western Queensland.
Australia's refineries were mainly constructed in the 1950s and 1960s but have been extensively modified and upgraded to produce fuels that comply with Australia's fuel standards.
Australia's refineries are relatively small when compared to other large refineries in the region and refining capacity has declined over recent years for a number of reasons. These include poor refining margins and the difficulties in remaining competitive within the region, particularly in light of the need to invest to meet future fuel standards.
In 2009, the department conducted a review of petroleum terminals suitable for importing crude oil and refined petroleum products into Australia.
Barrels per Day
Total operational capacity
* Shell will convert the Clyde refinery into an import terminal by September 2012.
Source: Submission by oil majors to ACCC Inquiry into the Price of Unleaded Petrol.
For more information about conventional transport fuels, see Conventional transport fuels.