Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) has approved an upgrade of its Tabangao, Batangas refinery to produce bitumen or asphalt for building roads.
The company told the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Wednesday the upgrade entails $13 million of investment.
In an earlier interview, PSPC President and Country Chairman Cesar Romero noted the investment is not for expanding capacity but to ensure that the refinery continues to be efficient and to put up a bitumen production facility in line with the government’s infrastructure program.
“We are very excited about this because it will allow us to produce bitumen. As we all know, infrastructure is a priority in the country and it allows us to participate more in the road-building,” Romero said.
Bitumen is a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons, obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation. It is used for constructing road infrastructure.
“The bitumen facility is expected be up and running probably in two to three years,” Romero said.
“We also are looking at some other improvements that would allow us to extend the life of the refinery. What exact form or shape it will take, that’s still for evaluation,” he added.
Pilipinas Shell is the second largest oil refinery in the country next to Petron Corp., and accounts for a quarter of the retail fuel market.
The refinery in Batangas – one of only two in the country – produces 110,000 barrel of fuel per day. It has recently undergone an upgrade to deliver Euro 4 compliant fuels.
As of end-June, the company was operating 996 retail service stations nationwide. It aims to operate 1,200 service stations by 2020, requiring $10 million to $20 million in investment.