Shell offers Cagayan depot for ‘fuel marking’

Published November 11, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

Major industry player Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation has offered its North Mindanao Import Facility (NMIF) in Cagayan de Oro City to be its gateway for the “fuel marking” measure being instituted by the Department of Finance (DOF).

This 90 million liter-capacity oil facility of the Royal Dutch Shell plc subsidiary is among its biggest and situated right into an area where some players may have been committing smuggling and other felonious trade activities.

The oil firm announced that it already informed the DOF of its readiness to take on the automated fuel marking that could start this month. Its NMIF is servicing fuel requirements of customers in Visayas and Mindanao.

Parallel to the fuel marking exercise at its Mindanao depot, Shell noted that it is also working with the SICPA-SGS consortium “to install and commission an automated fuel marking injection system” at its refinery in Tabangao refinery in Batangas.

Shell reiterated it fully backs the finance department on its fuel marking policy so it could support the government “to minimize oil smuggling and misdeclaration.”

As estimated, such felonious acts of industry players in the downstream oil sector had been compromising up to ₱40 billion that should have had otherwise been fetched as additional revenues for the State coffers.

Serge Bernal, vice president for external and government relations of Pilipinas Shell, indicated that the company is “working double time to start automated fuel marking at our manufacturing facility by February 2020.”

He said coordination is being carried out with the DOF and its contractor SICPA-SGS “on how manual fuel marking process may be safely implemented in a complex facility like a refinery to meet their aspirations for an earlier start-up.”

Shell’s Tabangao refinery is just one of the two facilities of such kind in the country – the other one in Limay, Bataan is owned and operated by biggest industry player Petron Corporation.

Bernal explained if compared to the NMIF depot – which is just essentially a storage facility, the handling of fuel marking in a refinery will entail more complex process.

There are quite a number of safety risks involved in manually marking fuel in a dynamic environment like a refinery,” he enthused, thus noting that the intent is “we want to ensure that we minimize these risks for the safety of the government personnel who will be conducting the fuel marking, our employees and contractors who form part of the manufacturing, supply and delivery chain,” as well as those living in the fence-line communities and ultimately the consumers.

Given such concern, the company emphasized that along with the Philippine Institute of Petroleum and the DOF, they are targeting to sort out viable mechanisms to effectively implement the fuel marking program.

Officials of the finance department, the company said, had been given access to fuel marking experts from Shell and Turcas Petrol AS in Turkey, since that country is the only one in the world that currently enforces a fuel marking system.