The country’s only two oil refineries remain on temporary shutdown amid the slowdown in fuel demand and low oil prices arising from the coronavirus pandemic, the Energy Department said Tuesday.
Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. shut down their respective refineries in May to mitigate the impact of the low demand and low prices.
“Both Shell and Petron continue to be on shutdown, but are ready to operate once there is a need to augment the supply beyond the level of what the importations and their existing inventories can provide,” said Rino Abad, director of the Oil Industry Management Bureau.
Abad said Pilipinas Shell sent a letter to the department on June 4 providing a status report on the existing economic shutdown. Pilipinas Shell implemented a one-month shutdown of its 110,000-a-day-barrel refinery in Batangas on May 24 as part of its “cash conservation measures.”
Meanwhile, Petron shut down its 180,000-barrel refinery in Bataan on May 5 for maintenance activities.
“The two refiners have around 87 days of available supply based on the 22 June report,” Abad said.
“The shutdown of Petron and Shell was due to very low demand. Both refiners, however, could easily resume their operations once demand increases,” the department said earlier.
“We have experienced very low demand for the months of March, April and May, but is expected to gradually increase by June, as quarantine restrictions are eased in an attempt to restart our economy,” the agency said.
Both Petron and Pilipinas Shell suffered losses worth billions of pesos in the first quarter alone.
Petron incurred a net loss of P4.9 billion in the first quarter as fuel sales declined by a quarter, while Pilipinas Shell suffered a P5.5-billion loss in the same period.