Australia heads for second year of record gasoline, diesel imports

(Reuters) - Australia's gasoline and diesel imports are expected to rise 2% to hit a record for a second straight year due to a drop in domestic production and a post-COVID economic recovery boosting fuel demand, traders, analysts and an industry source said.

In the near term, gasoline imports are set to jump due to a roughly five-week outage at a gasoline-making unit at Ampol's Lytton refinery in Brisbane followed by maintenance work in May at Viva Energy's refinery near Melbourne.

This presents an opportunity for sellers in Singapore and South Korea, whose supplies make up around half of total Australian gasoil imports and nearly 80% of gasoline purchases, data from Wood Mackenzie and Rystad Energy showed.

Australia's growing appetite for gasoline imports, following the closure of two refineries in 2021, is likely to help boost Asian refining margins, which have already more than doubled so far this year.

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