Viva Energy (Viva) has today announced what could be positive news for its Geelong oil refinery. Viva Energy has been in the process of transitioning its Victorian oil refinery into an LNG terminal, but the plans have been uncertain since the company sustained massive losses in the first half of 2020. However, today Viva has announced the signing of several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) toward the potential of turning the site into an energy hub featuring, among others, solar and hydrogen.
The MoUs have been signed with Engie Australia & New Zealand and Mitsui & Co. Ltd, as well as Vitol & VTTI. In a short statement on LinkedIn, Viva called the agreements “a significant milestone in our Energy Hub for Victoria”.
Today we announced an MoU with commercial partners for the proposed Gas Terminal in Victoria, including a consortium comprising ENGIE Australia & New Zealand and Mitsui & Co. Ltd & the second between Vitol & VTTI. We look forward to continuing to progress this exciting project. pic.twitter.com/yO5a77KJj8
— Viva Energy (@VivaEnergy_au) December 7, 2020
It is probably little surprise to see that Engie is involved, the French renewable energy giant is at the forefront of renewable energy hub development, including being recently announced as the key partner in the in development Pilbara Hydrogen Hub.
Viva’s chief executive, Scott Wyatt, told the ABC that he hoped a final investment decision could be made by mid-2022. “The project…is an important part of our wider vision to further develop Geelong as an energy hub for Victoria, and to support the transition of Victoria to lower carbon energies,” said Wyatt.
The news comes as positive news for the plant’s 700 odd employees considering the oil refinery is one of only a few remaining in operation in Australia and BP’s Kwinana refinery in Western Australia recently announced that it would stop fuel production, a decision which leaves 590 people without a job.
The transition of employees from the rapidly obsolescent fossil fuel industry is key to the politics of the energy transition generally. The successful transition of a former oil refinery into an energy hub, albeit with continued gas production, could prove demonstrative of the capacity of workers in the fossil fuel industry to transfer to cleaner industry.
Viva is expected to release more detailed information of their plans for the Geelong site later this month.
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