Australia: Viva Geelong Refinery Maintenance
Viva Energy, under a revised structure has decided to proceed with the major maintenance of the Residue Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) at its Geelong Refinery, in response to the impacts of COVID-19, commencing earlier than planned and over a longer period of time.
Although some work has been deferred until 2021, preparations are advancing with work officially beginning in early July and scheduled to conclude by November 2020.Witha number of processing units already shut-down due to considerable reductions in local demand for Jet fuel and Fossil fuel, and very weak global refining margins impacting profitability, the refining environment remains very challenging.
Viva Energy CEO, Scott Wyatt remarked that the refining industry is facing some significant challenges and may take some time to recover due to the impacts on global economies and lower fuel demands. “We have decided to commence our major maintenance program while units are already shutdown and refining conditions are weak, and carry out the works over a longer period of time so that we can better manage the COVID-19 risks,” he said.
A number of future energy development projects which could be co-located with the refinery, is also being evaluated by the Company, diversifying and strengthening operations over time. Geelong would be established as a future “Energy Hub” for Victoria and South East Australia, if these are implemented, providing ongoing employment for skilled workers in Geelong, support the transition to lower carbon energies, and enhance energy security for the country.
“Operations are being modernized, and the facility is well positioned to expand into new areas of energy supply and production which will reduce our own operating costs, enhance energy supply to south-east Australia, and support the transition to lower carbon energies. “The Energy Hub” will likely involve other commercial partners, but also has the opportunity to involve local research institutions in the application of technology and new energies over time. This will not only help to provide ongoing employment for the 700 existing workers, but potentially support the development of new jobs and skills in a key regional center,” said Mr. Wyatt.
He also said that their early focus is on the development of an LNG supply and storage facility to bring natural gas from production fields in other parts of Australia, or further afield, to where it is needed in Victoria and south east Australia. Along with any development of local gas fields, this can help fill a looming shortfall in gas supply and help keep gas and power costs down. “We are also assessing the feasibility to establish a solar energy farm on surplus refinery land, support the development of strategic oil stocks, and support the emerging hydrogen industry,” Mr. Wyatt said.
To develop the full potential of the Energy Hub, Viva Energy plans on consulting widely on the vision for the site and work with governments, the community and partners.
“We have been part of the Geelong community for more than 65 years and are excited about the future,” said Mr. Wyatt. “It is innovative and forward looking projects like this that will help sustain us in Geelong for the long term and be an important part of Victoria’s energy future.”
Since1954,the Geelong Refinery has supplied Victorians with fuel and more than $450M had invested by Viva Energy over the last five years to improve safety, reliability and operational efficiencies at the site. PWKD17062020