Following the closure of Shell's Batangas refinery, Petron Corporation remains the last company to operate a refinery in the Philippines. Come January 2021, however, Petron will also be stopping operations at their Bataan refinery to cut losses. Don't worry, the company says that the stoppage is not permanent unlike Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.'s move last August.
Petron officially announced that their refinery in Limay, Bataan will be temporarily closed starting in the second half of January 2021. Aside from minimizing losses, Petron president Ramon S. Ang also cited an “uneven playing field between oil importers and refiners” as another reason for the Bataan refinery's pause in operations.
Despite the temporary stoppage of production, Petron assured that the fuel supply will continue to remain steady. The company will also be conducting “maintenance activities on key process units” during the duration of the shutdown.
“There will be no supply disruption as a result of the shutdown given the healthy inventory of the company and the replenishment by the company of its supply through the importation of finished products,” Petron said in a statement.
When will Petron's Bataan refinery resume operations? At the moment, it is still uncertain. The fuel company did not give a timeline as to when the refinery will start producing oil and fuel once more. They do say that the refinery will resume commercial operations “if and when the economy improves”.
The Petron refinery currently produces around 180,000 barrels per day which are then distributed and sold to its gas stations nationwide and in Malaysia. As mentioned earlier, the company remains the lone company with a refinery in the country. Meanwhile, rivals Shell and Chevron have ceased operations of their refineries and have decided to import fuel instead.
Hopefully, the shutdown of the Petron Bataan refinery will indeed be temporary and won't lead to a permanent closure similar to Shell's Batangas refinery. For reference, Shell first said that the Batangas refinery would be shut down temporarily before announcing its permanent closure months later.