Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. will start importing lubricants next year following the closure of its lube blending plant in the Pandacan oil depot, according to Cesar Abaricia, Shell Manufacturing Communications and Social Performance manager.
Country Chairman Edgar Chua earlier said the firm will complete moving out of the Pandacan facility by November. The PHP 450 million (USD 9.6 million) lube blending plant has a capacity to produce 60,000 metric tonnes of products per year using an automated batch blending system.
Abaricia said the company keeps an ample inventory of lubricants that will last until the end of the year.
Pilipinas Shell is the last of the three major oil companies to leave Pandacan, following the Philippine Supreme Court decision last November to close down the facility.
In addition to the lube blending plant, Pilipinas Shell has 14 storage tanks in the facility. Chua said that Shell started dismantling the tanks in July.
Shell had appealed the decision of the Philippine Supreme Court for Shell, Petron Corporation and Chevron Philippines to vacate the facility, but the Supreme Court ruled that its decision was final.
On Aug. 17, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada inspected the oil depot, together with Chua and Petron Corp. Chairman Ramon Ang. During the site inspection, Chua said the firm’s cost will be affected by the closure of the facility because it will have to factor in the transport of supplies from Batangas province, where its refinery is located, and the truck ban which is in effect in every city between Batangas and Manila.
“But when you talk about [product] pricing, this will all depend on competition,” Chua said.
The closure of its oil depot in Pandacan will also result in job losses. “We will try to absorb as many [workers] as we can. We are still finalizing the details,” he said.