(EnergyAsia, May 29 2014, Thursday) — Australia’s largest independent fuel operator has started up a new A$70 million storage and distribution terminal in Mackay in Queensland state, adding to its global network of more than 62 bulk fuel terminals. (US$1=A$1.05).

Singapore-based Puma Energy said the facility, Australia’s first greenfield fuel terminal, comprises six tanks with a combined 56-milion-litre capacity, a loading gantry and a 1.6km above-ground pipeline linking it to the coastal city’s port. Five of the tanks will be used to store diesel, reflecting the growing demand for industrial fuel in the region.

“A great deal of Australia’s mining activity happens out of central Queensland and supply security is critical to ensure the industry’s success,” said Puma Energy Australia’s general manager Ray Taylor.

“As more Australian refineries close, we will start to see a greater dependence on fuel imports, and yet there has been a significant lack of investment towards developing the infrastructure needed to manage this change.

“We are responding to a significant gap in the market and our investment in Mackay is to support the mining industry and our acquisition of Central Combined Group, which has an outstanding reputation in the region.”

Puma Energy, which began construction of the terminal in March 2013, will source fuel supplies through its partnership with the Switzerland-based global trading house Trafigura.

“Puma Energy can source its fuel from anywhere in the world based on quality, price and timing, and with our in-house capabilities to import, store and distribute premium fuel and diesel it means we can be more competitive against the major retailers and it will mean better value for our customers,” said Mr Taylor.

The company has begun redeveloping its Australian retail network that includes the upgrade and rebranding of more than 100 service stations this year.

“In addition to the refurbishment plans, we will also be launching our national fuel card on the 1st June, which will become the most widely accepted retail-branded fuel card in Australia,” said Mr Taylor. The company has a global network of over 1,600 retail service stations.