MELBOURNE, AAP – Hundreds of jobs are set to be cut as ExxonMobil announced the closure of its oil refinery at Altona in Melbourne.

About 350 people work at the plant, which has been operating since 1949.

The company said the refinery is no longer considered economically viable and the site would be converted into an import terminal.

The refinery supplies around half of the refined fuel, such as petrol, for Victoria.

But ExxonMobil said an import terminal will ensure an ongoing and reliable fuel supply for the state.

Chairman of ExxonMobil Australia Nathan Fay said the decision was not based on the significant support the refinery has received from the federal government.

“Our decision to convert our facility to a terminal is not a reflection of those efforts,” he said.

The refinery will remain in operation while transition work is undertaken.