Fuel group implements additional fuel quality checks under enforcement agreement with Department

18 November 2019

(Issued by Department of the Environment and Energy)

BP Australia has committed to a series of additional and rigourous fuel-testing measures and refinery-process checks, after it inadvertently supplied non-compliant unleaded petrol to the supply chain in 2017.

The Department of the Environment and Energy’s Office of Compliance has accepted an enforceable undertaking from BP Australia, to adopt additional quality-assurance processes, after the company notified the Department it had accidently released fuel to the public, which did not meet mandatory quality standards under the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000.

Specifically, the company stated it had inadvertently released unleaded petrol with high sulphur levels from its BP Kwinana Refinery in Western Australia, intermittently over a period from September to December 2017.

The undertaking will be in force for a period of three years. The actions set out in the agreement are estimated to cost BP Australia approximately $800,000, and will ensure better quality unleaded petrol for consumers.

It is an offence to supply fuel that does not meet the Standard. High sulphur content in unleaded petrol has the potential to contaminate motor vehicles’ catalytic converters, limiting their ability to convert noxious emissions into less harmful substances and comply with vehicle emissions standards.

In December 2017, the Department commenced an investigation into the supply of non-compliant unleaded petrol after receiving BP Australia’s notification.

Information provided by BP Australia and laboratory testing of unleaded petrol samples, confirmed the sulphur parameter did not meet the requirements of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001*. That Determination stipulated that unleaded petrol must have a sulphur content of 150 parts per million (ppm) or below.

As a result of the investigation, BP Australia provided the Department with an enforceable undertaking to improve its compliance with the Act by conducting significant fuel sampling activities across its national supply chain over a three year period.

In addition, BP Australia will implement significant business improvements at its refinery to ensure it only supplies compliant fuel.  The Department acknowledges BP Australia’s cooperation throughout the investigation and its ongoing commitment to supply fuels which comply with the Act.

An enforceable undertaking is a legally binding agreement between the Department and the company who proposed it and is an alternative to prosecution through the courts which aims to improve fuel quality for motorists.

BP Australia’s court enforceable under taking is available at: BP Australia Pty Ltd Section 65T Enforceable Undertaking accepted 10 October 2019 (PDF - 375.68 KB)

*On 1 October 2019 the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2019 superseded the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001