The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects only one refinery to continue operating in Australia, implying that another refinery will close within the next five years. This will result in Australia, together with New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia, seeing their combined refined oil product imports rise by around 50pc by 2026 from 2019 levels.

About 890,000 b/d of refining capacity is scheduled for closure in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, the IEA said in its Oil 2021 — analysis and forecast to 2026 report published this week. “Australia accounts for a third of this [closure] as all but one of the country’s refineries are expected to close permanently,” the IEA said.

BP is on track to shut its 146,000 b/d Kwinana refinery in Western Australia by the end of this month, with it having halted crude imports for its only refinery in the country.

ExxonMobil will close its 90,000 b/d Altona refinery in Melbourne, Victoria, in the coming months, while Australian downstream firm Ampol plans to make a decision on the long-term future of its 109,000 b/d Lytton refinery in Queensland by mid-2021.

Australian refiner and marketer Viva Energy, which operates the 128,000 b/d Geelong refinery in Victoria, is the only refiner that has accepted the federal government’s subsidy to maintain refining operations and the only operator to talk about a possible long-term future for its refining activities.

“The center of gravity for refined products trade is also shifting to Asia, where Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Singapore combined overtake Africa in net product import requirements,” the IEA said.

Australia and New Zealand become the only two net crude exporters in Asia as their domestic refining activity dwindles, it said. New Zealand has one refinery, the 135,000 b/d Marsden Point, which is operated by Refining NZ. The future of Marsden Point is also under review, with Refining NZ considering converting it into an oil product import terminal.

Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand will see their combined refined product imports surge from 1.6mn b/d in 2019 to 2.4mn b/d in 2026, well past any other region, the IEA said.

Total Australian refined output dropped to 436,000 b/d in January, the lowest level since 422,000 b/d in October and above the monthly refined output average so far in the July 2020-June 2021 fiscal year of 394,000 b/d, according to latest data from the Australian Petroleum Statistics.

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