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BP's Australia oil refinery on track to shut this month

MELBOURNE, March 9 (Reuters) - BP plc has stopped importing oil for its refinery in Western Australia, the country’s largest, and is on track to decommission the plant by the end of March, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

BP announced last October it would shut the loss-making Kwinana plant, capable of processing 146,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, and turn it into a fuel import terminal. It said at the time operations would wind down over six months.

“Crude imports have stopped, and all processing at the plant is in the shutdown phase which will be completed by the end of March 2021,” a BP spokesman said in an emailed comment.

The Kwinana refinery is the first of Australia’s remaining four refineries set to shut, despite offers of incentives from the government to keep refineries open for national security.

Exxon Mobil Corp said in February that it also plans to shut its 90,000-bpd Altona refinery, the country’s smallest plant.

Ampol Ltd, Australia’s top fuel supplier, is considering the future of its Lytton refinery in Queensland.

Viva Energy is the only company that has accepted short-term payments from the federal government to keep its Geelong refinery open and said it hopes the plant will stay open with the help of long-term incentives now under negotiation.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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