BP wins approval to convert Kwinana into a biorefinery

Article by Adam Duckett

BP has been granted approval to produce biofuels as its former Kwinana refining site in Australia.

Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended environmental approval for BP’s proposed Kwinana Renewable Fuels Project. It involves repurposing existing oil refining and production infrastructure to process vegetable oil, animal fats and other biowastes into aviation fuel and diesel. BP will also install new hydrogen generation, pre-treatment, product fractionation, and anaerobic bio-digestion units.

Oil refining began at Kwinana in 1955 but was shut down and used as a fuels import terminal in 2021 after operations became uneconomical. BP has since announced plans to use the site to make biofuels and hydrogen.

“Using a previously disturbed footprint within an industrial area means no clearing of vegetation is required,” said EPA chair Matthew Tonts. “The proponent’s site selection leverages the use of existing pipeline, jetty and tank infrastructure for new operations.”

He added that a detailed environmental assessment is now required to determine the project’s impact on climate change from greenhouse gases. The EPA has recommended strict conditions be imposed on the project to ensure emissions are reduced to zero by 2050.

Kwinana’s Renewable Fuels Project is one of five biofuel sites that BP wants producing a total of 100,000 bbl/d of greener fuels by 2030. The other four are in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Castellón in Spain, Lingen in Germany, and Cherry Point in the US.

Separately, BP is planning to install a 105 MW electrolyser at Kwinana to produce green hydrogen for aviation fuel, ammonia production and minerals processing. In November, BP said it was moving its H2Kwinana project into the front-end engineering and design (FEED) stage. The project has since been shortlisted among six other projects for funding under the country’s Hydrogen Headstart scheme.    

Article by Adam Duckett

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