Northern Oil's Yarwun Advanced BioFuels Pilot Plant general manager Ben Tabulo provides a tour of Northern Oil Refinery to Simon Gatley and President and CEO of Mercurius Biorefining Inc, Karl Seck.
Northern Oil's Yarwun Advanced BioFuels Pilot Plant general manager Ben Tabulo provides a tour of Northern Oil Refinery to Simon Gatley and President and CEO of Mercurius Biorefining Inc, Karl Seck. Matt Taylor GLA130219REFI

FUTURE CQ: Why Southern Oil chose Gladstone

AT LEAST four regional Queensland cities were vying for what would become Southern Oil's expansion above the NSW border about five years ago.

But Gladstone "felt right" for managing director Tim Rose.

The $55 million Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant at Yarwun was launched in 2014 with the aim to turn agricultural waste and tyres into a bio-diesel.

Yesterday it marked a milestone with the donation of a V8 engine to take its biodiesel tests from the lab to the engine.

As part of Future CQ Mr Rose spoke to The Observer about his company's decision to bring its biorefinery Northern Oil to the Port City.

Future CQ is The Observer and CQUniversity's ongoing campaign about the region's future, using data in a specially commissioned report by demographer Bernard Salt. One aim is to increase business confidence in the region.

Mr Rose said Mackay, Gladstone, Emerald and Townsville were considered for the new biorefinery.

"Of all the places we visited ... it was clear Gladstone understood industry," he said.

"As an industry town, the people understood it and we know we wouldn't be an oddity." He said Gladstone's State Development Area was a sweetener because it offered easier and faster approval.

"We haven't regretted it for a day," he said. "Hopefully we can help attract other industries to come and see the benefits of doing business in the Gladstone region too."