Caltex diesel shortage leaves Queensland truck drivers in limbo

By: Jason Whittaker


Owner-drivers and small trucking operators are scrambling to fill up their trucks as the impact of a diesel shortage hits

Owner-drivers and small trucking operators are scrambling to fill up their trucks as the impact of a diesel shortage hits Queensland.

Caltex had to shut down its Lytton oil refinery due to a leak in its hydroeater discovered earlier this month.

The company is shipping diesel from around the country and overseas into Queensland in an effort to keep up with demand.

However, its efforts are not enough with some drivers telling ATN they are reaching truck stops to fill up only to find they have run out of diesel.

So bad is the situation that Caltex is rationing diesel supplies, allocating them on the basis of a limited percentage of each site’s usual requirements.

"This means that from time to time some Caltex branded service stations may be without diesel for a few hours until the next delivery can be made," a statement from the company says.

And it is expected to continue until the end of April, with Caltex saying diesel supplies will not return to normal before the end of the month.

"We are doing everything possible to overcome the situation as quickly as possible," Caltex Chief Executive Des King says.

The Lytton refinery is the biggest in Queensland, processing 109,000 barrels a day of crude oil of which 30 percent is diesel.

A statement from the company says Caltex is working to ensure adequate supplies are available while repairs are carried out at Lytton.

This includes sending road tankers from Caltex terminals at Newcastle in New South Wales to service stations in Queensland. Some diesel is being trucked from Gladstone to north of Brisbane.

But in a sign this will not be enough, Caltex has purchased a diesel import cargo which is expected to arrive at Lytton sometime this month.

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