Refiner Viva commits to emissions cuts

Petrol and diesel supplier Viva Energy has set a 2030 goal to reach net zero emissions across its direct operations although to the exclusion of its Geelong oil refinery in Victoria where the target for decarbonisation is much softer.

The new commitments from Viva, which include a 2050 goal for net zero emissions across all operations, came before a strategy day briefing by the owner of the Shell-branded petrol stations which fills out its ambitions to reinvent Geelong as a lower-carbon energy hub.

Viva has been working on a planned low-carbon energy “hub” at its refinery site at Geelong.

The hub plan includes developing what is now Victoria’s leading LNG import terminal project since AGL Energy’s Crib Point project was blocked earlier this year. Viva is also looking to commercialise hydrogen refuelling for heavy vehicles on the east coast and is examining opportunities in biofuels, waste recycling and carbon offsets.

“Our strategy is to develop and maximise the value of three discrete and unique businesses, with significant low-carbon growth potential,” Viva said in the presentation, pointing also to future options for its retailing and commercial divisions.

Traditional petrol and diesel suppliers such as Viva and Ampol are on the front line of the transition to cleaner energy, with an inevitable shift towards electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell trucks even in laggard EV markets such as Australia. The refiners are facing major competition in vehicle refuelling from new EV charging companies that threatens their core business and are looking for ways to capitalise on their extensive fuel infrastructure.

Viva chairman Robert Hill said the company would play an important role in the energy security and infrastructure of Australia and said the new emissions reduction targets showed its commitment to tackling climate change.

“The liquid fuels and lubricants we supply will continue to play a critical role as the energy system transitions to a lower-carbon future.,” he said.

“As well as setting our own Scope 1 and 2 emission goals today, we
also have a number of initiatives in the new energies sector, to supply lower-carbon fuels to the market in the future.”

The commitments include net zero direct emissions for Viva’s retail, fuels and marketing businesses by 2030, while the LNG import terminal project, which is targeted for a final investment decision in the September quarter of 2022, would be net zero emissions over its life, including construction and operation.

At the Geelong refinery, the target is for a 10 per cent reduction in emissions intensity – carbon emissions production per unit of output – by 2030, to be achieved through energy efficiency and optimising operations.

Viva has committed to operating the Geelong refinery until at least mid-2028 after the refining sector secured a taxpayer-funded subsidy package earlier this year.

Two of Australia’s oil refineries have closed anyway this year after the COVID-19 pandemic smashed margins and demand, leaving just Geelong and Ampol’s Lytton plant in Brisbane.


Extracted from AFR

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