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Petron planning to spend P11 billion to upgrade refinery operations

Petron Corp., the country’s largest oil company, plans to upgrade its 180,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Bataan province that will cost P11 billion until 2024.

Petron said in a report to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources it would undertake the Petron Refinery Special Projects that involves using cleaner technologies and de-logging pier traffic.

It aims to provide the shift to cleaner technology in production of steam and power requirements by replacing old fuel oil-fired boilers and alleviating product pier utilization and traffic through the construction of new transfer facilities.

The main facilities of the project will be two circulating fluidized bed boilers and two 22-megawatt back pressure turbo generators.

Petron said the new capacity and design are mainly based on the four CFBs currently operating at the refinery.

“This CFB technology is a highly efficient process for steam production, while also being versatile enough to handle various solid fuel properties,” the company said.

The generators, however, are designed to produce more steam for power production.

The Petron refinery is capable of processing 180,000 barrels per day by converting all negative margin fuel oil into high-margin products such as gasoline, diesel, and petrochemicals.

Petron, with this facility, enhanced the country’s supply security and lessened the country’s dependence on higher-costing imported fuel products.

The refinery is currently on economic shutdown because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with resumption eyed in the next few months when demand goes up.

Petron registered the Bataan refinery as an economic zone enterprise with the Authority of the Freeport of Bataan as part of ways to improve its financial situation. FAB-registered enterprises are entitled to avail of fiscal incentives under Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 or Omnibus Investment Code of 1987.

Petron announced last week plans to issue US-dollar senior perpetual capital securities as part of its capital raising program.

The company did not disclose how much it was planning to raise but said in its preliminary offering circular that net proceeds from the issue of the securities “will be applied by the company for the repayment of indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.”

Petron incurred a net loss of P11.4 billion in 2020, coming from the 2019 net income of P2.3 billion, brought about by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the oil industry.

Consolidated sales volume fell 27 percent last year to 78.6 million barrels from 107 million barrels in 2019. Revenues declined 44 percent to P286 billion from P514.4 billion, reflecting the impact of the pandemic on Petron’s financial performance.

Topics: ​Petron Corp. , Department of Environment and Natural Resources , Petron Refinery Special Projects

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