With Shell seeking buyers for its 59-year old refinery, deemed uncompetitive in the traditional hydrocarbons market due to its small scale and old technology relative to Asian competitors, what innovative options can Shell and the Geelong community explore to develop a sustainable asset for long term community wealth?
California provides a guide. A petroleum refinery there is being revamped as an advanced biofuel refinery, with United Airlines underwriting the investment through commercial commitment to buy its renewable jet fuel.
The lesson for Geelong is that partnerships between large fuel users, refiners and biofuel technologists offer the opportunity to use waste and non-food organics to produce low-carbon “drop-in” fuels. Feedstocks would be sourced locally. Ready-made pipeline and terminal infrastructure will efficiently get product to market. Victoria positions itself as renewable fuel hub for international and domestic airlines, land and sea transport operators, miners, farmers and industrial customers.
Sounds like win-win-win, but who can pull it together?