Caltex Australia has welcomed Brisbane City Council's decision to give development approval to the $145 million Lytton Refinery Clean Fuels Project.
The project will upgrade the refinery to greatly reduce the benzene content of petrol and sulphur content of diesel for sale at terminals and service stations from January 1, 2006.
Caltex managing director Dave Reeves said the Clean Fuels Project would deliver large environmental benefits to Queensland through cleaner urban air and facilitate the introduction of new, cleaner and more efficient engine technologies.
"At the same time, stringent approval conditions will ensure the well-being of the local community is protected."
Caltex fuel will be similar in quality to advanced standards in Europe, North America and parts of Asia. Cleaner fuels and vehicles will mean greatly reduced emissions of benzene, smog-forming hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, and fine particulates.
"The development approval conditions for the project will ensure ambient air quality in residential areas adjacent to the refinery complies with national air quality standards," Mr Reeves said.
"At present, sulphur dioxide ground level concentrations are well within air quality standards and Caltex is confident there will continue to be no adverse health impacts from sulphur dioxide emissions."
From January 1 2006, the regulated maximum allowable content of benzene in petrol will be cut from 3.5 percent to 1 percent. From January 1 2008, the regulated maximum level of sulphur in premium unleaded petrol will be 50 parts per million (ppm), compared with 150ppm today.
The regulated maximum level of sulphur in diesel will be reduced to 10ppm from January 1 2009, compared with 500ppm today and 50ppm from 2006.
The Clean Fuels Project will employ a construction workforce of about 250 at its peak in the period October 2004 to September 2005, in addition to the current workforce of about 500 employees and contractors at Lytton Refinery.