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BP Resumes Full Production at Australian Oil Refinery




BP Resumes Full Production at Australian Oil Refinery (Update1) 

By Angela Macdonald-Smith

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) — BP Plc, one of four oil refiners in Australia, resumed full production at a plant in Western Australia, the largest in the country, after scheduled maintenance work that lasted two months.

The work at the Kwinana refinery was completed in the second week of December and production has reached full capacity, Chandran Vigneswaran, a Melbourne-based spokesman for BP’s Australian unit, said today by telephone. An additional 900 workers were on site at the peak of the work, in addition to the 500 workers usually at the plant, he said.

The Kwinana plant, one of Australia’s seven operating refineries, has a capacity to process 137,000 barrels a day of crude oil and is the only one in Western Australia. BP supplied customers with imported fuel during the shutdown.

The maintenance involved a “major overhaul” of the catalytic cracker, which produces gasoline, diesel, fuel oil and liquefied petroleum gas, Vigneswaran said. It also included servicing components, changing some internal equipment to improve performance and installing a sound reduction device in the stack, he said in an e-mail.

The work included maintenance of a crude distillation unit, the alkylation plant, a propane production unit, a sulfur recovery unit and the catalytic polymerization unit, Vigneswaran said.

Queensland Shortages

BP Australia’s second refinery, near Brisbane in Queensland state, has been running at full capacity amid fuel shortages in the region due to an unplanned shutdown earlier this month of Caltex Australia Ltd.’s Lytton plant, Vigneswaran said.

The Lytton refinery should reach full production again by next week, Georgie Wells, a spokeswoman at Sydney-based Caltex, said yesterday. The company is restricting supplies of unleaded and premium unleaded gasoline to retail sites, she said.

“With their refinery down there’s been greater pressure on our sites in terms of demand,” BP’s Vigneswaran said. “We’ve been supplying to our customers greater volumes where we can.”

BP’s Bulwer Island plant has a capacity to process about 101,000 barrels a day of crude oil. The company has made some import facilities such as wharves available to competitors to facilitate imports and is purchasing additional blending materials to increase yields to help alleviate premium gasoline shortages, Vigneswaran said.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. also own oil refineries in Australia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Macdonald-Smith in Sydney at[email protected]

Last Updated: December 30, 2008 01:57 EST

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