Cleaner fuel for NSW following Kurnell upgrade

CLEANER fuel will be available in NSW in just over a year following a $150 million upgrade at Caltex’s oil refinery in southern Sydney, according to Caltex.

Caltex Kurnell refinery has started construction of its $150 million Clean Fuels Project. From 2006 this upgrade will see the refinery produce some of the cleanest fuels in Australia and the world, the company claims.

The project will upgrade the refinery to greatly reduce the benzene content of petrol and sulphur content of diesel. The cleaner fuels will be on sale at terminals and service stations from 1 January 2006.

“The project is about improving the environment directly through cleaner fuels and facilitating the introduction of new, cleaner and more efficient engine technologies,” said Caltex managing director Dave Reeves.

“Once the project is completed, we will produce fuels that fully comply with the Australian Government standards mandated for 2006. We will also be able to comply with the even tougher standards for 2008 and 2009 that were announced by the Australian Government in July this year.”

NSW Planning and Natural Resources Minister Craig Knowles said this was an important step forward as benzene and sulphur were major contributors to air pollution and smog.

“This upgrade will concrete the Caltex Kurnell refinery as one of the leading cleaner fuel producers in the region,” Knowles said.

“In NSW there are currently around three million cars on our roads. The introduction of cleaner petrol in 2006 will provide an immediate reduction in benzene emissions equivalent to that produced by 800,000 cars,” he said.

“Similarly there are about 350,000 diesel vehicles on our roads. When the sulphur reduced diesel is introduced it will be the equivalent of removing the sulfur emissions from 10,000 of those vehicles.”

The Caltex Kurnell refinery is the second largest of Australia’s seven operating fuel refineries, producing 124,500 barrels per day.