Running on Empty: Oil Refineries at Breaking Point as World Grinds to a Halt

From the dawn of the lockdowns, Australia’s biggest cities virtually shuddered to a stop. Busy streets were all but deserted, the roar of traffic dulled to a whisper.

Few scenes drove home the scale of the disruption more than silent freeways and empty skies, so the fuel slump that followed was destined to be severe. Petrol usage in the June quarter fell 26 per cent. Aviation fuel crashed 80 per cent.

It’s been a temporary breath of fresh air for the environment, with transport emissions down sharply as a result. But for Australia’s oil refineries – plants that process crude oil into fuel products – this is a moment of reckoning. The deepest and fastest demand crash in decades is reverberating through the industry, pushing oil refineries to financial breaking point. One has already announced it is closing down for good – BP’s Perth refinery, the country’s largest. The three that are left are at risk of closing too. Thousands of well-paid jobs are hanging in the balance. Read more…..


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