The Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning is changing to the Department of State Development and Infrastructure. Work is underway to update this website. Read more about the new Ministerial portfolios. Access Planning and Local Government content as changes are being progressed.

Skip to content

Oceania Biofuels – why a world-leading renewables company chose Queensland for their newest project

Oceania Biofuels – why a world-leading renewables company chose Queensland for their newest project

Mike Everton, CEO of Oceania Biofuels, has always lived in Victoria but recently he acquired a unit in Gladstone.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” he says. “I’ll be living up here catching the sea breeze for at least the next five years.”

What lured Mike to Queensland’s central coast? He says that while the warm weather and world-class scenery were attractive, it was the region’s existing infrastructure, skilled workers and access to feedstock, paired with unrivalled support from the Queensland Government, that convinced Mike that Gladstone was the place to be for him and for Oceania Biofuels’ new $500 million biorefinery.

Oceania Biofuels’ Gladstone biorefinery

Slated to begin operation in 2025, the biorefinery will be constructed in the Yarwun Industrial Precinct in the Gladstone State Development Area. The biorefinery will produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, a product that the company sees as a bridge towards a future in which more vehicles can run on green energy like electricity, hydrogen and batteries.

Unlike other biofuel options that can require modifications to engines, additional technology, or blending with traditional fuels, the renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel produced at the biorefinery will be a like-for-like fuel that can go directly into existing engines. While green energy transportation technology advances and becomes more accessible, using Oceania’s renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel is a way to substantially reduce carbon emissions now.

Mike Everton
Mike has been enjoying the sunny weather and beautiful surrounds of Gladstone.

Why did Oceania Biofuels choose Gladstone and Queensland for their biorefinery?

Mike says that Gladstone became a front-runner in the hunt for a location for the biorefinery after a trip to meet with a Queensland grower who could provide feedstock.

“We flew into Gladstone and one of the team suggested maybe we should look at that area,” he says. “On the surface, it all seemed to be about shipping, mining and gas, but what it does have is a deep-seated industry play.”

He realised that the existing infrastructure and skilled workforce in Gladstone made it the perfect location for Oceania’s biorefinery plans.

“When you look at the infrastructure that’s there; the rail, road and shipping infrastructure, as well as the proximity to land and suppliers that can be used for feedstock, Gladstone was just a natural fit. And of course, there’s the port facility, which means we also have the option to export and greatly minimises risk.”

Once his team got underway with planning and proposals, Mike says that the support they received from the local and state governments was unparalleled.

“The Queensland Government and Gladstone Regional Council were so supportive; it was a no-brainer for us. I’ve never had a project where the government has offered so much support and so much drive.”

The Queensland location also provided easy access to the feedstock which will be used to create the biofuels, creating opportunities Queensland farmers.

“The feedstock comes from farms, companies and abattoirs,” says Mike. “We go right back to the farmers; we call it a paddock to tank program, a fully-integrated Australian model. They’ll make a profit and they will also be given a hedge, which allows them to grow the crop with some security.”

What Oceania Biofuels will bring to Gladstone?

Mike says the project has received a warm welcome from the people of Gladstone.

“I didn’t have to sell the project to Gladstone,” Mike says, “Gladstone was selling it to me. Every single person I spoke to – from the man who organised my hire car, to the hotel staff and the city’s Mayor – they all said, ‘Come to Gladstone.’”

Mike said Gladstone locals were keen to know whether the workers who constructed and operated the plant would be flown in from outside the region. He was quick to reassure them that Gladstone locals would be among the beneficiaries of the skilled jobs the biorefinery would bring to the region.

“We’re doing it in Gladstone, with Gladstone people,” says Mike. “We’re sourcing locals as much as possible. They’re not flying in and out; we’re after people who will live in Gladstone.”

With beautiful surroundings and the opportunity to work in a world-class facility and world-changing industry, Mike says the biorefinery will offer exceptional career and lifestyle prospects for employees.

“Our company is very diverse; we’ve got projects all around the world. In Gladstone, you’ve got the best of all of it. Within two hours, you can go to some of the best places in the world; the beaches, Heron Island, the Whitsundays. When you say that to people, from those who live locally to experts from around the world, it’s attractive.”

What’s next for biofuels in Queensland?

As global demand for cleaner fuels grows, Queensland is seizing the opportunity to secure more jobs in more industries. From large-scale projects like the Oceania biorefinery, to innovative pilot programs like Mercurius’ biorefinery in Mackay, we are partnering with industry leaders to fortify local supply chains, create and secure jobs, and increase onshore manufacturing capabilities.

Queensland’s Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan was launched in 2016 to provide leadership to help leverage Queensland’s strategic advantages, while diversifying our economy and creating high-knowledge jobs.

The Roadmap was refreshed and relaunched in 2022, building on the achievements of the past 6 years and recognising that changing global influences and industry advances have created new challenges while opening up new opportunities for market diversification. In the coming years, the Roadmap will guide Queensland towards becoming an Asia-Pacific hub in biomanufacturing and biorefining, enabling global efforts to decarbonise and building diverse local industrial capabilities.

Last updated: 14 Jun 2023