The petroleum refining volume in the country significantly dropped by 66.5-percent in the first six months this year due to the shutdown last year of the Tabangao refinery of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., the Department of Energy reported.

So far, the only remaining refinery in the country is that of leading oil firm Petron Corporation, but even its operations had been through ‘turbulent period’ at the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Data from the DOE showed that the total volume processed at Petron refinery from January to June this year had been at 1.299 billion liters compared to a heftier 3.978 billion liters in the same six-month period last year.

In the first half of 2020, Pilipinas Shell was still clinging on to its oil refining business in the country. But with financial crunch it had been grappling with as an upshot of the health crisis, the local subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch giant oil firm eventually decided to cease its Philippine refining operations.

As noted by the DoE, refinery utilization in this year’s first half just also hovered at 25.4-percent versus last year’s 56.5-percent; and the average refining output had been placed at 7.1 million liters per day.

“The country is now left with only one refinery with a maximum working crude distillation capacity of 180,000 barrels per stream day as Pilipinas Shell decided to permanently shut down its oil refinery operations in Tabangao, Batangas sometime in September last year,” the DOE reiterated.

As the country’s oil market is now just relying on one refinery, the agency highlighted that outputs from crude refining process had also been reduced significantly from last year’s level.

The DOE emphasized that diesel output went down by 68.1-percent; gasoline production dipped by 63.6-percent; and fuel oil had been lower by 94.7-percent.

Additionally, refinery run in the production of avturbo fuel for the aviation industry had been significantly scaled down by 66.1-percent; liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) likewise declined by 59.2-percent; and kerosene had been lower by 44.7-percent.

On overall crude oil importation, the energy department also logged significant downturn because it was just in May this year when Petron returned to its refining operations. The company’s Limay refinery was on ‘turnaround’ or maintenance shutdown since February.

The DOE specified that “about 92-percent of the total crude mix originated from the Middle East,” and about 45-percent of that is from Saudi Arabia; and other offshore market sources are United Arab Emirates, Oman and Brunei. ###

Source: Manila Bulletin (