• Shell plans bitumen facility at Batangas refinery

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    NEWLY listed oil refiner and distributor Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (SHLPH) plans to put up a bitumen production facility at the Shell Refinery in Tabangao, Batangas to cement its position as industry leader in road pavement solutions.

    “We do have plans to provide further investments in the refinery but not to expand capacity but to ensure that it continues to be efficient, so we have plans to put up a bitumen production facility and it is well in line with the infrastructure plans of the government,” SHLPH president and country chairman Cesar Romero told reporters in an interview.

    Bitumen is black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation and it is used for the construction of quality road infrastructures.

    “The bitumen facility is expected be up and running probably in two to three years,” Romer said, but he did not disclose the investment cost.

    “Bitumen would be about a reasonable chunk of money but I think because we are still scouting, and it’s ready for some engineering works, it’s a bit sensitive for me to give an amount,” he said.

    “We also are looking at some other improvements that would allow us to extend the life of the refinery,” Romero said.

    “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 road-building,” Romero said.

    SHLPH is the second largest oil refiner in the country next to Petron Corp. in terms of volumes sold, having nearly a quarter of the local retail fuel market.

    It owns and operates an oil refinery in Batangas—one of only two in the country—which produces 110,000 barrels of fuel per day. The refinery has recently undergone an upgrade to deliver Euro 4 compliant fuels.

    As of end-June, the company is operating 996 retail service stations nationwide.

    SHLPH aims to have 1,200 service stations nationwide by 2020, requiring $10 million to $20 million in investments.

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