Senator Win Gatchalian expresses concern on the looming shut down of Petron Corporation’s refinery in Limay, Bataan due to huge losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The immediate impact will be the loss of jobs in the country’s lone oil refining company once it ceases operations, according to the senator. He called on the government to do everything to make sure the company survives to save jobs.
“Now is not the right time to shut down businesses. This is very crucial. Employment is very important during this pandemic, “Gatchalian said.
“Government should do everything to save the refinery, which is a key industry for developing and industrialized nations. Refineries create value – import cheap crude oil and sell higher value refined petroleum,” he added.
Gatchalian said the eventual shutdown of Petron’s refinery, which followed the move of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation made some two months ago, would place the country at the mercy of foreign suppliers and prices.
Although a temporary closure will not lead to negative price outcomes for consumers due to oversupply of oil in the global market, the Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee said a permanent closure will have energy security implications as the country will be more dependent on imports for petroleum products.
Data culled from the Department of Energy-Oil Industry Management Bureau (DOE-OIMB) showed that Petron accounts for more than half of the country’s total refinery production last year at 59.5 percent.
Petron’s refinery supplied 20.61 percent of the country’s total demand for petroleum products last year.
Petron President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang cited unresolved taxation issues with the government and losses from selling finished fuel during times of price fluctuations in the global oil market.