Port Bonython green light signals diesel market shake-up

Bullish Mitsubishi to go ahead with project in partnership with Coogee Chemicals as part of a national fuel strategy

Port Bonython green light signals diesel market shake-up
Coogee is the second firm with trucking operations to be involved


Mitsubishi says it is ready to go ahead with the Port Bonython diesel import terminal, 18 months after purchasing the project and eight years after it first surfaced.

The Japanese conglomerate used its announcement to highlight its national fuel distribution ambitions.

 "The terminal will be the foundation for Mitsubishi to launch a diesel fuel import, sales and distribution business in Australia which it expects to show robust growth on the back of increasing demand in energy, resource, transport and industrial sectors," it says of the project, while Mitsubishi Corporation petroleum business division general manager Jack Watanabe says the investment and the facility "signals our strong commitment to growing our business in the Australian fuels market".

The final terminal design and construction phase is to begin this quarter, with commercial operation at the northern Spencer Gulf site due in 2016.

Mitsubishi bought Port Bonython Fuels (PBF) through subsidiary Petro Diamond Australia in January last year from Senex Energy, which in turn had taken control of it in 2011 when buying Stuart Petroleum.

This is the second time the project has come into the hands of a firm with trucking operations in its business.

Stuart and the Scott Group of Companies launched PBF as a $45 million joint venture in August 2007, ahead of and supporting what then was seen as an impending minerals boom to rival the Pilbara.

Since PBF came into Mitsubishi’s control, it has taken on Coogee Chemicals, "to participate as a shareholder and operating partner of the new terminal".

Along with tank terminals in Western Australia, at Kwinana and Port Hedland, and Queensland, at Gladstone and Townsville, Coogee boasts a fleet of 25 prime movers and more than 80 items of trailing equipment, including more than 40 dedicated dangerous goods road tankers.

"Through its involvement in the fuel supply, sales and distribution business, Mitsubishi will strengthen its petroleum trading functions and create greater synergies, while further expanding value chains throughout the business," Mitsubishi says.

The South Australian Government put the value of the Port Bonython project now at $110 million.

"We are seeing record export levels in South Australia and anticipated growth in our mineral resources and energy, transport and agriculture sectors will mean additional demands for fuel," treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says.



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