Esso Australia

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Esso Australia
Industry Energy
Founded 1933; 87 years ago (1933)
Headquarters ,
Products Oil and natural gas exploration, production, marketing
Owner ExxonMobil
Parent Esso

Esso Australia is an Australian affiliate of ExxonMobil, the US based oil giant. Esso operates a number of oil and gas platforms in Bass Strait, south east of Melbourne, Australia, as well as a gas processing facility at Longford and Long Island Point (LIP) in Hastings.

Esso Australia operated retail petrol operations until 1990, when its stations were acquired by Mobil Australia.


Between 1933 and 1962 Esso was owned by Stanvac or Standard Oil. The trademark for Esso was first registered in 1937.[1] After 1962 Esso's Australian operations were known as Esso Standard Oil (Australia) Pty Ltd.

On 25 September 1998, the Esso Longford gas explosion killed two and injured eight others.[2] As Victoria's largest supplier of natural gas the aftermath was considerable with hundreds of thousands of homes affected. Many Victorians experienced 20 days without gas hot-water or heating. A Royal Commission was held finding Esso responsible for the accident. Esso was also found guilty by jury verdict of 11 offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and fined $2 million.[1]

In November 2012 there was a crude oil spill at Longford.[3]


Esso is proceeding with plans to build a Gas Conditioning Plant adjacent to its existing facilities at Longford.[4] The facility will remove carbon dioxide from natural gas and is being built in conjunction with BHP Billiton.[5]

Industrial Disputes

Esso's Longford plant and its related offshore facilities in the Bass Strait have been the focus of a prolonged industrial dispute related to the company's outsourced maintenance workforce.

Scaffolders, electricians, boilermakers and fitters were employed to maintain gas equipment up until 2017 by Esso contractor UGL in a joint venture with KAEFER Integrated Services, a German engineering and maintenance corporation.

UGL won the contract outright in 2017 and offered the workforce their roles back on reduced pay and conditions under a new enterprise agreement through its subsidiary MTCT Services. The MTCT agreement was filed with the Australian Fair Work Commission in late 2016.[6] Those filings indicate the agreement was voted on and approved by five casual workers employed by MTCT in Western Australia. There is no indication that the workers had any experience in gas facilities maintenance or intended to work at Esso's Victorian facilities.

Unions representing the workers allege the enterprise agreement was not negotiated with the Victorian workforce, making it unrepresentative. That would put the company's conduct in direct conflict with ExxonMobil's global 'Statement on labour and the workplace', which commits the company to the right to collective bargaining.[7]

A majority of the affected workers at Longford refused UGL's offer and have been protesting outside the facility since 20 June 2017.[8] Esso and the unions representing the workers have criticised each other in the media.[9][10] In July Esso lodged a complaint to have a large inflatable rat removed from the protest and signs removed that referred to UGL's replacement workforce as 'scabs'.[11]

Corporate Tax Avoidance

In November 2017 workers affected by Esso contractor UGL's pay cuts travelled to Canberra to highlight the tax practices of Esso's parent company, ExxonMobil Australia.[12]

Between 2013/14 and 2015/16 ExxonMobil Australia paid no corporate income tax on $24.7 billion in revenue.[13] ExxonMobil argues that the company has paid a 'fair share' by contributing $12 billion in petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT) since the tax was introduced in 1990.[14]

ExxonMobil executives are due to appear before the Australian Parliament's Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance in early 2018.[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Esso history". Exxon Mobil. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  2. ^ Becky Gaylord (6 December 2001). "'98 Accident at Gasworks Still Shadows Esso Australia". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  3. ^ "DPP v Esso Australia Pty Ltd [2001] VSC 263 (30 July 2001)". AUSTLII. 30 July 2001. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Longford Gas Conditioning Plant Project". Exxon Mobil. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  5. ^ "BHP and Esso to build Longford gas plant". The Courier-Mail. Queensland Newspapers. Australian Associated Press. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  6. ^ "MTCT Services Pty Ltd – NM ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT 2016" (PDF). Fair Work Commission of Australia. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  7. ^ "ExxonMobil statement on labor and the workplace". ExxonMobil. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  8. ^ Nicole Asher (22 June 2017). "'Unions launch protest at Esso's Longford gas plant in Gippsland". ABC News. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  9. ^ "'Unionists are spreading 'misinformation'". The Gippsland Times. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  10. ^ "'Unions 'not spreading misinformation'". The Gippsland Times. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  11. ^ "'Scabby is deflated". The Gippsland Times. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Gippsland families head to Canberra to fight Australia's biggest tax thief". Australian Workers' Union. 17 November 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  13. ^ Frank Chung (8 December 2017). "The poster boy for corporate tax dodging': ExxonMobil has paid no tax for three years". Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  14. ^ "ExxonMobil Australia – Tax Facts". Exxon Mobil. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  15. ^ Calla Wahlquist (5 December 2017). "'ExxonMobil Australia to face Senate scrutiny after paying no tax on $18bn income". The Guardian Australia. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
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