Modules being lifted onto the ship in New Zealand for the new Northern Oil Refinery in Gladstone.
Modules being lifted onto the ship in New Zealand for the new Northern Oil Refinery in Gladstone. Contributed

Australia's biggest oil refinery being built in Gladstone

QUEENSLAND'S first - and Australia's biggest - oil re-refinery is being pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle in Yarwun on Friday, following the arrival of 16 pre-fabricated modules from New Zealand this week.

It will take five days to complete the structure for the new $55 million Northern Oil Refinery, a joint venture between Southern Oil and JJ Richards, scheduled to open towards the end of February.

The plant will generate 40 operational jobs, with two-thirds from Gladstone, and the possibility of seeing some recently redundant workers from shale oil operation QER move across as that venture winds down.

It could also be an environmental coup for the state, as the plant has the potential to process 100% of Queensland's used lube oil.

Southern Oil managing director Tim Rose said it was a great relief to see to such an important milestone.

"Many of the staff have been down in Wagga for the last year training, and they're now back to watch it all come together," he said.

"We had the choice to expand Wagga or build elsewhere, and most of Australia's oil is generated and used in Queensland."

Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd convinced Mr Rose that Gladstone ticked all the boxes.

"Gladstone just felt like the place to be," Mr Rose said.

He said the modules were outsourced to New Zealand during Australia's boom.

"They also understood the standards and quality of workmanship we were after," he said.

The plant will begin re-refining 50 million litres of waste oil, with the potential to double that.

Key players for the NOR will include many Gladstone businesses and western mines.

"They say they're sustainable and we hope they're as good as their word because you can't get more sustainable than this," he said.

"We want people to know there is an alternative. Too much oil is getting burned here (in Australia)."



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