By BEN SHARPLES
BP, the operator of the biggest oil refinery
in Australia, plans to
spend A$10 billion ($9.3 billion) this decade expanding its
filling station network and developing oil and gas project
s such as the Browse
The company will open a dozen new filling stations during the
next 12 months while seeking to increase the fleet through
acquisitions, Andy Holmes, the president of BPs
Australasia business, said in an interview. He declined to
elaborate on potential takeover targets.
The London-based group will spend about A$2.3 billion over
the next five years on its downstream unit that also includes
the Kwinana refinery
BP is seeking to expand its retail business even as it scales
in Australia while
companies including Trafigura Beheer, the worlds
third-largest independent oil trader, and Vitol Group gain a
foothold in the industry. The company will also spend more
than A$1 billion on a deep-water drilling campaign off the
southern coast, Holmes said.
The big opportunities were after is at the
customer end of the business, Holmes said at an
Australian British Chamber of Commerce event in Melbourne
today. Filling stations, or truck stops, or motorway
stations, thats the area where were turning up
The company owns about 330 of the 1,300 BP-branded filling
stations in Australia. It will halt operations at its Bulwer
in Queensland by mid-2015
and may convert the facility into a fuel-import terminal amid
competition from Asia.
Viva Energy, a unit of Vitol, will spend A$1 billion over the
next five years after buying Royal Dutch Shells Geelong
plant in Victoria and its 870-site retail business.
Trafiguras Puma Energy last year purchased two
companies that will give it more than 200 pump stations in
BP also has an interest in fields that will feed the
Chevron-operated Gorgon liquefied natural gas project
, along with a stake in the
North West Shelf Venture and the Browse LNG project. The
company will start its deep-water drill campaign in the Great
Australian Bight in 2016, Holmes said.
We have ambitions to further grow our upstream
presence, Holmes said in a speech at the event.
We believe the Great Australian Bight can prove to be a
basin. BP is also heavily
invested in the development of the Browse gas resource.
Woodside Petroleum, the operator of the Browse LNG project
, scrapped a plan last year
to build it onshore in Western Australia, estimating later it
would have cost more than A$80 billion. Instead, the company
plans to decide in mid-2015 whether to proceed with a plan to
liquefy the gas on giant ships offshore, using Royal Dutch