Trafigura to Spend $68 Million on Australian Import Terminal

Trafigura Beheer BV, the world’s third-largest independent oil trader, said its Puma Energy unit will spend A$65 million ($68 million) to develop a petroleum import terminal in Australia, following a deal that doubles its number of petrol stations in the country.

The terminal at the Port of Mackay in Queensland state is part of a transaction last month to acquire Neumann Petroleum and its more than 120 service stations. Puma expects to build more terminals in states including Western Australia as the nation boosts its reliance on fuel imports, Ray Taylor, Puma’s general manager for Australia, said today in a phone interview.

“The changing dynamics in terms of supply is one of the factors that makes this an attractive market,” Taylor said. “With refineries closing and demand continuing to increase, the percentage of product from overseas is going to go up.”

Puma is also purchasing Ausfuel, owner of the Gull, Choice and Peak service stations, the Singapore-based company said today in a statement, without disclosing the terms. Puma will pay Ausfuel about A$625 million ($652 million), said a person with knowledge of the matter. The deal, adding 110 retail sites in Australia, will make Trafigura Australia’s largest independent fuel retailer.

Trafigura’s investments in Australia follow decisions by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Caltex Australia Ltd. to close refineries.

Caltex, half-owned by San Ramon, California-based Chevron Corp., said last year it plans to halt refining at its unprofitable Kurnell plant in Sydney in the second half of 2014. Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, stopped processing at its Clyde refinery last year, saying the plant was no longer competitive against Asian “mega-refineries.”

“It’s inevitable we’ll see further rationalization in the refining industry in Australia,” Taylor said.

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