United Petroleum launched $30m plan to import fuel to Far North
PORT of Mourilyan is poised to become home to a $30?million-plus United Petroleum shipping hub in a move that would drive down fuel costs across the Far North.
The independent Australian company, whose bowser discounts have been heralded as a blessing to price-gouged motorists, has signed an agreement with Ports North to undertake a feasibility study into the plan.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said United would directly import, store and distribute fuel through the port near Innisfail with more than 100 jobs expected during construction.
The facility would service the market from Airlie Beach north and west to Mt Isa.
“They have identified the Port of Mourilyan as an ideal location for this future facility which could be up and running at the Port by 2020,” Mr Pitt said.
“The development will also expand United Petroleum’s capability to store and distribute fuel, which will lead to a more reliable supply and better-priced fuel for motorists and business operators in our region.”
Mr Pitt has been in negotiations with both parties since May last year.
Ports North chairman Russell Beer said the choice of Mourilyan highlighted the port’s potential as a future trade hub for targeted, medium-sized bulk cargo.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to work with United Petroleum to further expand the port and once again proves Ports North is a key economic driver for the region,” Mr Beer said.
United Petroleum imports fuel but also owns the Dalby ethanol refinery and its branded service stations, meaning it operates the entirety of the supply chain from arrival in Australia to point of sale.
Mr Pitt has previously referred to the company as an “industry disrupter” and has been spruiking the company’s merits for months.
United Petroleum chief operating officer David Szymczak welcomed the potential for a regional fuel importation, storage and distribution hub in the Far North.
“As a further commitment to the Queensland fuel industry and the jobs that come with it, United recently announced a reduction in the retail price of our E10 fuel right across Queensland which we believe was another tangible show of our support for the Queensland Government’s vision for a sustainable biofuels sector,” he said.
“Now, this opportunity to expand this operation and service into Far North Queensland, is seen as a win-win for us and the community.”
Advance Cairns CEO Kevin Byrne said the proposal represented “an innovative use of Mourilyan and provides more diversifications for the regional economy”.