Senate energy committee chairman Sherwin Gatchalian hopes that Petron Corporation would reconsider its plan to close its refinery in Limay, Bataan in the wake of job cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Petron President and CEO Ramon Ang earlier threatened to close the country’s once-largest and now only operating refinery if taxation issues with the government aren’t resolved. Shell already closed its Batangas refinery last August, while Caltex folded its facility in 2003.
Though Gatchalian said that he will look into Petron’s tax issues, he also believes the oil giant and the government would eventually work out their differences.
Given the pandemic’s impact on its business, Petron wants a level tax playing field with oil importers. The company suffered a total net loss of Php14.2 billion in the first half of 2020 compared to Php2.6 billion net income in 2019. Inventory losses reached almost Php15 billion due to combined slump in demand, poor refining margins, and huge price drops.