The Department of Energy (DOE) has addressed operational concerns of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) – Malampaya Deep Water Gas Field, or Service Contract No. 38 (SC38) such as the possible access restriction of critical operational, engineering staff, and contractors due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019)
Other concerns of SPEX were the continuation of the operations of the Batangas Supply Base in Batangas Port; continuation of the operations of marine supply vessels and other support vessels that berth in Palawan and Batangas; and the need for unhindered crew change cycles of offshore personnel operating the Malampaya platform.
The DOE also called on concerned local government agencies to exempt the delivery of goods and the movement of SPEX’s personnel from the lockdown, given that major role of Malampaya in providing power supply to the Luzon grid.
In addition, the DOE, through its Oil Industry Management Bureau, assured that there will be unhampered energy services in the downstream oil industry.
“As the potential impact of the COVID-19 enhanced community quarantine resulted to lessen most of the economic activities in the Philippine energy sector, this crisis shall not diminish our roles to fully cooperate with the government and provide 24/7 energy services to our consumers,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi was quoted in a statement.
The following initiatives have been prepared to address the concerns of the oil industry:
- Inclusion of the delivery of petroleum products and biofuel blend to the DOE memo issued on 14 March and DOE advisory issued on 17 March as part of the quarantine exempted transport;
- Oil industries to implement vehicle signage for identification at checkpoints;
- Facilitated transport clearances which were initially prohibited to all tank truck deliveries;
- Facilitated the discussion with the Department of Finance and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on the resumption of foreign exchange trading and settlement to allow the continuous payment of petroleum and ethanol importations;
- Facilitated the continuous issuance of acknowledgement to import petroleum products since Monday (16 March) via email;
- Issued public notices on price freeze for household LPG and kerosene after President Rodrigo Duterte declared on Tuesday (17 March) a State of Calamity throughout the entire Philippines due to the COVID-19;
- Coordinated with BOC commissioner to prioritize importation of petroleum products and ethanol for supply security;
- Facilitated the oil companies submission of the list of personnel to be issued with DOE registered ID in compliance with the IATF order;
- Issued advisories to the public on the availability of petroleum products inventory for the next 45 days and;
- Soon to be released advisories on the price monitoring for the public’s guidance.
“We are grateful to have all hands on deck at this critical juncture. Rest assured that the entire energy family will continuously communicate with the industry players and the public to ease their burden as we navigate through these difficult times,” Cusi concluded.