Viva Launches New Refinery Product

Andrew Duthie, Chloe Dawson, James LoRicco and Jacques Liu helped to create Vivasol X55 at Geelong Refinery.

You change or you die – it’s a maxim that many a disrupted industry has seen via, well, a whole lot of businesses popping their clogs. It wasn’t so long ago that the Geelong Refinery was operating a cloud of serious uncertainty, until Viva Energy swooped in and set about developing new markets for the oil-based products. Just this week, Viva Energy Australia has announced that the refinery is manufacturing its first new solvent product since the 1980s (for millennials, that was when a mobile phone could also double as a paperweight, and you needed paperweights because email wasn’t really a thing.)

Vivasol X55 is used for tyre shine, tyre re-tread, cleaning for auto transmissions and brakes, adhesives and thinners.

Refinery General Manager, Thys Heyns, said production of Vivasol X55 has been developed in response to high consumer demand.

“Launching a locally refined product, particularly one that we previously imported, is always exciting, as the opportunities to do so are few and far between,” Mr Heyns said.

The new solvent adds to the suite of niche manufacturing products produced at the Geelong Refinery, the only refinery in the country producing solvents, bitumen and avgas (used for propeller engine planes).

“In order to help ensure the long term sustainability of the refinery we need to play to our strengths and specialty products is definitely a strength for Geelong. As an industry we need to adapt to changing customer and market conditions,” Mr Heyns said.

While the refinery is focused on selling almost all of its production in Victoria, exporting niche products to other states is an area the refinery is looking to grow, with products like low-aromatic unleaded fuel, created at the refinery and distributed throughout northern Australia as part of the Federal Government’s petrol sniffing prevention program.

“We are also exploring the possibility of building an export line to supply locally made bitumen to other parts of Australia where imported product is their only option.

“These strategies, innovations and investments are important, as we must focus on doing all that we can to help compete against Asian mega refineries, which can be up to 10 times our size and two to three times cheaper to run,” Mr Heyns said.

Feature Image Courtesy: Tract Consulting
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