Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI), marketer of the Caltex brand of fuels and lubricants, will add 32 service stations this year on top of its current 700 stations, according to company officials.
“We are going to add about 30 service stations in 2016. That’s right across the country, evenly spread across the country, a few here in Metro Manila, there’s certainly quite a few in growth areas like Mindanao and provincial areas in the Visayas,” CPI Country Chairman Peter Morris told reporters in a chance interview at the launch of the all-new Platinum Techron fuel product.
Chevron is currently the third largest oil player in the country with a 15 percent market share.
“Our market share is not necessarily a target for us. It’s important we have the right service stations in the right locations and the right business partners,” Morris said.
The company will continue to invest in its oil depots but does not plan to add a new depot as of now. It has five operating depots and eight additional depots that are operated in a joint agreement with Shell.
“We have got a pretty robust and efficient supply chain. We may be making some investments in additional tankers and existing facilities, additional capacities on import awards,” Morris said.
“We will be servicing them through our existing oil depots. Our major facility is in Batangas, just south of Metro Manila, but we have other key facilities in Sasa in Mindanao, in Cebu, San Fernando up north and some other locations across the country in which we continue to invest heavily just to ensure they can cope with growing needs, fuel volume, but also improved standards – safety and operating,” he said.
Despite the impact of low oil prices, Morris said that it is interesting managing volatility.
“For the downstream business, or the retail business, it doesn’t have much of a negative impact, motorists obviously enjoy the benefits of low oil prices, but our retailers have low working capital as a result of having less money tied up to inventory. From a CPI perspective, we have to tighten our capital budget through operating expenses,” he said.
Caltex Brand is continually innovating to compete with stiff competition with coming of new oil players eating up its market share, Morris said.
“Customers will try new entrants all the time and it’s good they do that. Sometimes they offer different things, a location that’s more convenient or a slightly different price point.
We welcome new competitors but we also compete very strongly. That’s why the Caltex brand is continually innovating,” Morris said.
“People can go on to try other brands, but they can always come back to Caltex for the highest quality fuel, fuel they can trust, and fuel that’s going to provide reliability for their vehicle,” he added.
Morris also said that Chevron has no plans to bring back its refinery in the country, which operated for 49 years before its closure in 2003.
“We have some very efficient, world-class facilities in Thailand, Korea, and Singapore, and we will continue to manage our supply chain through those,” he said.