Refinery output, crude oil imports in 2020 fall due to shutdowns

tabangao edited

The refinery shutdowns of Petron and Shell led the country’s oil refining output to drop by 41.8% to 5,504 million liters (ML) in 2020 from 9,460 ML in 2019, according to the Department of Energy-Oil Industry Management Bureau’s (DOE-OIMB) year-end report

Based on the report, Petron and Shell notified the DOE in May that they would temporarily close their respective refineries in Limay, Bataan and in Tabangao, Batangas City with lowered fuel demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns. 

Petron proceeded as planned, but Shell went on to announce the permanent closure of its refinery in August.

“The temporary economic/plant shutdown has resulted in a decrease in the volume of crude oil processed at the refinery by 41.9 percent, from 9,726 ML of last year to 5,652 ML. Refinery utilization during the period was only 33.6 percent vis-à-vis 2019’s 58.8 percent,” the department’s Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) said in the report.

Petron eventually went for another temporary shutdown last February, still due to low margins caused by the pandemic.

Crude oil imports in 2020 also decreased by 45.7% to 5,238 ML from 9,649 ML in 2019, due to the economic shutdown of two local refiners and the conversion of Shell’s refinery to an import terminal.

About 40.65% or 52,397 thousand barrels of the country’s total storage capacity were housed in Limay and Tabangao.

Last March, Petron said it will reopen its Bataan refinery in July and is currently completing several requirements to be able to resume operations. The Bataan refinery is the only remaining facility of its kind in the country.


Photo from Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation website.