BP announced in mid-March 2015 that it had signed a sales and purchase agreement with Puma Energy to sell its Australian bitumen business.
In a statement, BP said that it hopes to complete the sale by the middle of 2015. It noted that Puma Energy will then take on the operation of facilities located in Brisbane, Townsville, Altona and Hobart. BP said it would continue to operate its Kwinana-based bitumen production facilities for an interim period of at least 18 months to supply bitumen products to Puma Energy for servicing the Western Australian market.
“BP has been a major player in the Australian bitumen market for more than 50 years, and is known and trusted to deliver quality products, innovation and leadership,” BP said in a statement.
BP Bitumen has launched many new and innovative product technologies during this period, including Micropave slurry surfacing, Multibit multigrade bitumen, Aquabit bitumen emulsions and the highly acclaimed Olexobit range of polymer modified binders. The Olexobit brand is widely used by road construction and maintenance engineers across Australia.
Puma Energy is a major player in the global bitumen market – one of the largest traders of bitumen with a worldwide distribution and marketing network. This includes owning and operating one of the world’s largest bitumen shipping fleets.
In October 2014, Puma Energy acquired the Caltex bitumen business, which includes a 50 per cent share in a bitumen blowing and in-line blending facility at their Port Botany site.
Ray Taylor, General Manager – Puma Energy Australia said in the statement that the decision to build on its portfolio in Australia by acquiring the BP Bitumen business comes at a time when there is a considerable amount of transition within the Australian bitumen market.
“The Australian bitumen market is increasingly reliant on imports after the shutdown of several refineries,” said Taylor. “Our global supply and distribution network and our fleet of vessels ensure supply security and enable us to source high quality and competitively priced products for our customers. Puma Energy, along with our strategic partner Trafigura, is well-placed to leverage bitumen in Australia, with significant technical experience and a strategy for trading.”
BP said that it would work very closely with Puma Energy to ensure a robust management of change and seamless transition. Until the completion of that transition process, BP remains the operator of the business.