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Mobil Australia's Stanvac refinery ramps up after strike

The start-up of ExxonMobil arm Mobil Australia's 72,000 b/d refinery at Port Stanvac...

The start-up of ExxonMobil arm Mobil Australia's 72,000 b/d refinery at Port Stanvac in South Australia has "gone well" since industrial action by 27 maintenance workers ended on Oct 16, a company spokeswoman said Thursday. The strike began after an alleged asbestos exposure on Oct 4 and had prevented the refinery from restarting as scheduled on Oct 6 after a planned maintenance turnaround which began on Sep 25. Fuel production is ramping up and the company hoped to have supplies flowing down the pipeline from the refinery to the Birkenhead terminal by late Sunday, Oct 21, the Mobil spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, restrictions on fuel sales in the state capital of Adelaide were imposed on Oct 17 by South Australian Energy Minister Wayne Matthew, who slammed the strike action.
"The workplace was declared as safe by independent industrial hygienists and by government inspectors, more than a week ago," Matthew said. "There was no need for this union action that has jeopardized the state's fuel supply." The government has imposed a rationining system based on odd and even vehicle registration numbers at all metropolitan service stations. The duration of the restrictions would depend on the time taken to replenish stocks, with full production at the refinery expected to be reached later this week. The government plans to review the restrictions for the weekend of Oct 20-21 and make a decision then on the need to continue. "The government has put price caps in place during the rationing period to protect consumers from profiteering," Matthew said.