Lotilla rejects plans for strategic petroleum reserve

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Amid the government’s promotion of electric vehicles (EV) rollout, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla rejected proposals for strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) or oil stockpile citing the need for thorough study.

In a report by the Manila Standard, the energy department said it aims to reach at least 50 percent EV penetration by 2040.

Lotilla said that the concerns that would be raised on the reserve would be the demand for oil-based products and the purpose of the strategic reserve. 

Previously, the Duterte administration suggested the implementation of an SPR which includes substantial amounts of crude oil and petroleum products stored in various facilities across the country, and possibly overseas. The reserve would be utilized when local or international oil supply disruptions arise.

The US SPR was intended to address oil supply constraints and the country is not experiencing such, thus, there is no need for a strategic reserve, Lotilla said. 

The SPR program of Philippine National Oil Co. is meant to ensure the oil supply’s stability and security in the long run, in spite of geopolitical events, providing oil stockpiles adequate to 90 days of domestic oil elements, whether crude oil, finished petroleum products, or both.

While most SPRs store crude oil, the country has one refinery accounting for 30 percent of the domestic supply.

Lotilla said that SPR should be constructed during times when oil prices are low in order to prevent any potential loss.