By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - UK oil giant BP (British Petroleum) on Friday announced it would shut down one of its last oil refineries in Australia.
In a statement, the BP said it will "cease fuel production at its Kwinana Refinery and convert it to an import terminal, helping to ensure ongoing security of fuel supply for Western Australia."
Located in Perth, Western Australia, the 65-year-old Kwinana is Australia's largest refinery with capacity of 150,000 barrels of oil per day and one of the last four oil refineries owned by BP in the country.
Its shutdown has triggered concerns of job losses and increasing reliance on imported fuel in Australia.
"The continued growth of large-scale, export-oriented refineries throughout Asia and the Middle East has structurally changed the Australian market," BP argued.
BP, a British multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, is one of the world's seven oil and gas "supermajors."
"Regional oversupply and sustained low refining margins mean the Kwinana Refinery is no longer economically viable. Having explored multiple possibilities for the refinery's future, [the] BP has concluded that conversion to an import terminal is the best option," the statement added.
On the "difficult" decision, the BP Australia head Frederic Baudry said: "[it is] not in any way a result of local policy settings. It comes in response to the long-term structural changes to the regional fuels market. Converting to an import terminal will not impact the safe and reliable supply of quality fuel products to Western Australia; however, it will require fewer people to run. We deeply regret the job losses that will result and will do everything we can to support our people through the transition.”
Australian Workers' Union National Secretary Daniel Walton said in a statement on Twitter that BP had not consulted its employees over the shutdown.
"BP just announced the closure of the Kwinana refinery 650 workers have lost their jobs - without any consultation," he said, urging the country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison to stop the move.
"@ScottMorrisonMP and @MarkMcGowanMP cannot simply shake their heads & express disappointment," said Walton. "Get on the phone to BP and tell them to stop dead in their tracks."
Mark McGowan is regional prime minister of Western Australia.
Australian Unions termed the refinery closure as "a devastating blow for these workers."