A US-Australian joint venture is conducting a preliminary study to evaluate the viability of a new oil refinery in Gladstone. Brisbane’s Casper Energy and Nevada’s Eagle Ford Oil & Gas Corporation announced a potential $700m oil refinery project that could see up to 1000 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs added to the Australian economy by 2019. The project is speculative and subject to further reports surrounding the financial viability of the project.
If completed, the first phase of the project is expected to process up to 43,000 barrels of crude oil per day into ultra-low sulphur diesel and premium gasoline. The project would take four years to complete and would finish sometime in 2019. The Australian company is currently in discussions with the government at the local, State and Federal levels. Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers supported the project after the announcement. “This is another string to the bow for the Gladstone region,” she said.
Executives at Casper Energy said this particular region was ripe for new energy projects. Four of Australia’s eight oil refineries are set to close within a few short years, bringing the country’s production capacity to 490,000 barrels per day. This is in contrast to the country’s demand of 1.25m barrels of oil per day. As oil prices wane, the new Gladstone project could see Australia be less dependent on foreign oil. “Gladstone presents itself as a focus for industrial development,” said Casper Energy project director Duncan Mackenzie. “It is a 'niche' project targeting the regional market. There's a burgeoning market in central Queensland – industrial and agricultural – and Gladstone has a deepwater port.”