PILIPINAS Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) is weighing all possible options, including moving its operations to its facility in Batangas, once its depot in Pandacan, Manila is totally shut down.
Ramon del Rosario, head of PSPC’s corporate communications, said they are now studying all possible options after the Supreme Court (SC) ordered the city government of Manila to oversee the relocation of the oil depot in Pandacan within six months.
Del Rosario said among these options is to transfer their operations to their Batangas facility.
“We are weighing all available options, like transferring our operations to Batangas,” Del Rosario said.
Shell has a 110,000-barrel per day refinery in Tabangao, Batangas which commenced operations in 1962.
Del Rosario, however, admitted that there would be an increase in their distribution cost once their supply comes from Batangas. But this will not mean an automatic increase in the prices of their petroleum products, he added.
“This will not cause any increase in our prices because it is dictated by market forces,” he added.
At the same time, Del Rosario assured they will comply with any order coming from the SC and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje earlier said that oil companies should first seek an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) before they dismantle the oil depot.
And in order to be granted ECCs, the companies are required to submit an environmental impact study that would indicate what they intend to do with the area they would leave behind and what measures they will undertake to prevent contamination in the area while relocation is ongoing.
“It is important to conduct an assessment to check if there is soil contamination. If the area is to be used for another purpose, such as commercial or residential later and it is contaminated, possible remedy could be treating the soil in place or excavating the contaminated portion,” Paje said.
He stressed that developers would have to comply with the standards of clean air, clean water and handling of hazardous wastes.
The remediation process could take about five years, which is much longer than the relocation period of six months.
The DENR, Paje said, would guide the oil companies in the relocation process, including the safeguards to be observed in order to avoid oil spills or contamination of ground water.
He said the oil companies and concerned offices should be guided by Republic Act 6969 or An Act to Control Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes, Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof, and for Other Purposes.
The SC gave the big three oil companies — Shell, Petron Corp. and Chevron Philippines — six months to move out of Pandacan after it ruled as unconstitutional a city ordinance of Manila that reclassified the area as a heavy industrial zone and invalidated the oil companies’ continued stay in the area.
All three have oil depots in Pandacan. Chevron said it has been gradually shutting down its Pandacan depot even before the SC issued its decision.