MANILA, Philippines – Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. is eyeing Batangas as the site for an alternative depot following the decision of the Supreme Court ordering the relocation of the Pandacan oil terminal.
“Right now, we have to review our options,” said Shell vice president for communications Ramon del Rosario.
He said that using Shell’s facilities in Batangas is an option for the oil giant.
“Batangas is an option,” he said.
At the same time, he stressed that nothing is final yet as Shell has yet to receive a copy of the Supreme Court’s decision.
As to whether the move to relocate to another depot would affect local pump prices, Del Rosario said prices would depend on market forces.
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“Probably, there’s an increase in distribution cost but the (pump) prices would depend on market forces,” he said.
The Supreme Court has recently ordered the relocation of the Pandacan oil depot.
Petron Corp., the country’s biggest oil refiner and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. are currently using the Pandacan oil depot. Chevron, owner of the Caltex brand, also used the facility but moved out of the depot last in June.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said it would be up to the oil firms to appeal the High Court’s decision but the order does not come as a surprise as the Pandacan terminal has long been surrounded by controversies amid complaints from nearby residents and environmentalists.
“It will be up to them to appeal the decision but I think in the past, they’ve seen this coming already and they have contingency plans,” he said.
The Energy chief said the department would also require oil companies to submit their contingency plans.
Petron chairman and CEO Ramon Ang said in May that the company has already built alternative depots in Rosario, Cavite, Navotas, Limay and Harbor Center as part of its efforts to move out of the controversial Pandacan facility.
Residents of Pandacan in Manila have long been complaining of the risks of having the oil depot in their area.
Last year, the depot was again the center of debates following a spill that came from a bunker fuel warehouse in Old Panaderos in Sta. Ana owned by a Filipino-Chinese businessman.