Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel is prodding the House Committee on Energy to look into the possible implications of the decommissioning of the country’s only two oil refineries.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel

“Without any oil refining capacity of our own, is there any chance our supply of ready-to-use fuels might be disrupted to a certain degree sometime in the future, once our economy starts to recover? We want this and other questions answered by the Department of Energy and by the oil industry,” Pimentel said in statement.

Refineries generate finished petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel and LPG, among others, out of crude oil.

The Mindanaoan pointed out that many refineries in other parts of the world – not just those in the Philippines – are also getting mothballed because of uncertain prospects for a recovery in fuel demand after the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed consumption.

“Could a sudden reduction in global refining capacity possibly upset our supply of finished fuels in the future? Do we have enough storage capacity here for ready-to-use fuels in the event of disasters or crises that might set back the operations of refinery hubs abroad?

“We want these concerns addressed. We are counting on the Energy committee to tackle these issues in a formal inquiry,” Pimentel said.

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. has dismantled its 110,000-barrel per day refinery in Batangas City in favor of an oil import terminal. The company had initially suspended its refinery operations in May.

Last week, Petron Corp. also said it will “suspend” the operations of its 180,000 barrel per day refinery in Limay, Bataan by mid-January 2021.

Instead of refining crude oil at a loss, both Shell and Petron have found it more profitable to supply their combined 3,526 retail stations across the country with imported finished petroleum products.

Shell and Petron reported P13.9 billion and P12.6 billion in net losses, respectively, from January to September this year due to deteriorating margins amid the 40-percent plunge in fuel demand.

Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo was recently installed as Energy panel chief, replacing Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco who now sits as House Speaker.

Source: Manila Bulletin (