Pilipinas Shell to import lubricants in 2016

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PILIPINAS Shell Petroleum Corp. is going to import lubricants starting next year in the aftermath of the closing down of the oil depot in Pandacan, Manila.

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Cesar Abaricia, Shell Manufacturing Communications and Social Performance manager, said the oil firm would have to import lubricants to address its requirements.

Country Chairman Edgar Chua earlier said the firm will be completely out of the Pandacan depot by November, noting that workers started dismantling the facility in July.

At this point, however, Abaricia said the company keeps an ample inventory of lubricants that will last until the year is out.

He allayed fears that importation would usher in a regime of more expensive products. “It will not necessarily result in higher prices because, in some instances, imports are cheap,” he said.

The P450-million Pandacan depot was designed to manufacture petroleum products under stringent controls and specifications, using an automated batch blending system to produce a variety of lubricants. It has a rated capacity of 60,000 metric tons per year.

Pilipinas Shell is the last oil player moving out of the Pandacan depot since the Supreme Court issued a decision last November to close down the facility.

In a separate decision last March, the high court turned down, among others, the motion for reconsideration and sought by Pilipinas Shell and affirmed with finality the decision in November which declared Manila City Ordinance No. 8187 as invalid and unconstitutional.

The 2009 ordinance allowed Pilipinas Shell, Petron Corp. and Chevron Philippines Inc. to maintain the oil depot in the thickly-populated district by the Pasig River. Pilipinas Shell maintains 14 storage tanks in the facility.

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