BP in sustainable aviation pledge

Oil major BP is aiming to start producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Australia by 2025.

The plan will see the company convert its oil refinery near Perth to produce renewable fuels.

BP has not disclosed what volume it plans to produce, but it is understood that the output will depend on demand, as the facility would be able to switch day-to-day between producing sustainable aviation fuel and biodiesel.

The Kwinana plant is in Western Australia, a region currently dominated by the mining industry where there is heavy demand for diesel for trucks.

Air travel accounts for about 2% of global carbon emissions. The industry is aiming to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, relying on SAF usage to rise from around 100 million litres (26 million gallons) a year in 2021 to at least 449 billion litres a year within three decades, a massive challenge.

Australia has no SAF production so far and has no mandates for the fuel, unlike the European Union, which last week approved plans to require suppliers to blend a minimum of 2% of SAF into their jet fuel from 2025, rising to 85% in 2050.  

BP’s plant on the west coast and an A$500 million plant being built by private firm Oceania Biofuels on the east coast will be the country’s first two SAF plants. 

Oceania’s plant will be able to produce more than 350 million litres per year of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.

BP’s plans come amidst calls for the new Australian government to impose mandates or provide subsidies, tax breaks or a carbon pricing mechanism to spur development of the industry.