OIL refiner and distributor Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) said on Friday that its Valenzuela station tested negative for methanol following tests undertaken by the Department of Energy (DOE).
“As previously disclosed, news circulated on 8 December 2016 that during a random inspection by the Department of Energy (“DOE”) at a Shell station in Marulas, Valenzuela City, product was discovered to have contained Methanol,” PSPC said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.
In its statement, the PSPC said it remains committed to providing quality products that meet Philippine National Standards.
In response to concerns over methanol blends, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi directed DOE Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos to conduct inspections and sampling of liquid petroleum products in various gasoline stations/retail outlets nationwide to check for compliance with existing Philippine National Standards (PNS) for fuels, especially focusing on the presence of methanol in their liquid petroleum products.
The DOE earlier shared the information that methanol was being used instead of ethanol in some gas stations.
The presence of methanol in gasoline can harm and cause corrosion in the engine.
In performing the inspections, the DOE- Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) applied the standard operating procedures in sampling and testing to determine the compliance of petroleum products.
Further confirmation is being done in geoscientific research and testing laboratories under the DOE-Energy Research and Testing Laboratories at its headquarters in Taguig, the DOE said.
“We look into the quantity and quality of petroleum products being sold to our consumers. Initially, inspection results showed that all gasoline samples passed the calibration test for quantity of fuels. But for quality, only one sample is still being confirmed for having methanol at the DOE laboratory,” Cusi said in an earlier statement.
Meanwhile, the Singapore-based Methanol Institute (MI) said on Thursday that methanol “is used safely as a transportation fuel in a number of countries, where stakeholders develop methanol-gasoline blends under approved government standards.”
MI said that methanol use in the Philippines can benefit consumers through the development of higher-quality, lower-cost, and environmentally-beneficial fuel solutions.
The institute said it and the methanol industry look forward to working with DOE-OIMB and related stakeholders to develop opportunities for the local production of renewable methanol, and for methanol to be used safely and effectively in transportation fuels and related chemical and energy applications throughout the Philippines.
The Philippines currently imports approximately 130,000 tons of methanol annually for use primarily in the production of biodiesel fuel, of which methanol typically accounts for 10-15 percent of biodiesel content.