Shell opts for initial interim semi-automated fuel marking

Published January 12, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

As an interim measure, major oil firm Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation is opting for semi-automated system for fuel marking activity at its Tabangao refinery in Batangas.

“While the aim is full automation, the company has worked with SGS to implement a safer set of manual and semi-automated methods as a temporary measure,” the oil company said.

SICPA-SGS is the third party that the Department of Finance (DOF) has engaged to undertake fuel marking on petroleum products being shipped by the oil companies into the country – that are then subsequently sold to consumers.

Serge Bernal, vice president for external and government relations of Pilipinas Shell, said “Our goal is to improve the safety of the process through automation,” adding that the realistic goal is “to fully automate the system at our refinery by end-March 2020.”

He qualified the oil firm has to resort to such two-tiered measure as “we have the responsibility to ensure that the interests of all our customers and stakeholders are safeguarded.”

Pilipinas Shell first offered its 90 million liter-capacity Northern Mindanao Import Facility (NMIF) in Cagayan de Oro City for the government-underpinned fuel marking activity; then it dangled its Batangas refinery in the next phase.

The oil firm stressed that it collaborated closely with third party marker SGS and the relevant government agencies, including the finance department, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on this fuel marking program.

“To help ensure safety in implementation, Pilipinas Shell is working double time to install a fully automated injection system in both the NMIF and the refinery,” the oil company has noted.

The Philippine subsidiary of The Hague-headquartered Royal Dutch Shell indicated that fuel marking at its NMIF kicked off November 26 last year; and on December 1, its gasoline and diesel imports had already been marked. Subsequently, marking process at its Tabangao refinery was also carried out December 11 last year.

Citing data from the DOF and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the oil firm emphasized that “the loss of national revenue due to oil smuggling and misdeclaration can reach as high as ₱40 billion.”

It further explained that “the government’s fuel marking program establishes a system for identifying fuel that has paid the correct import and excise duties.”