By MYRNA M. VELASCO
The oil refinery of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. in Tabangao, Batangas, approximately 58 kilometers away from Taal Volcano and a major supply of petroleum products in the country, continued to operate at full capacity ensuring the country undisrupted oil supply amid the volcanic eruption in the past few days.
In a statement, Pilipinas Shell said its Tabangao refinery of 110,000 per stream day capacity remained on “normal business operations,” as well as the entire supply chain of its businesses including its retail networks.
The oil firm nevertheless cautioned that it is incessantly monitoring the situation, in case heightened preparations for contingencies would be needed.
The Shell refinery in Batangas is one of the main facilities that the Department of Energy (DOE) has been keeping a close watch on, because if this will be affected, it may have adverse implications on domestic oil supply.
The only other refinery in the country is that of Petron Corp. but its facility is situated in Limay, Bataan which is in the opposite domain in central Luzon.
Shell said “The Taal situation is being constantly monitored and business protocols are in place to respond to any potential change in circumstances.”
And since safety is a priority for the Philippine subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch energy super giant, it indicated that its staff and business partners “are safe and all accounted for.”
It also emphasized that while air quality had been assessed as “good” in the area of the refinery as of Friday (January 17) monitoring, the company noted it still issued “appropriate face masks and safety glasses as a precautionary measure” to their personnel working in the site.
Given the extent of displacement that the Taal volcano eruption has caused in the past week, Shell said it designated 46 of its retail stations proximate to the affected municipalities as “emergency response sites to the public” on round-the-clock basis.
These retail sites aiding as public service networks had been provided with first aid amenities, toilet facilities, hydration resources, free mobile charging and windshield cleaning services for vehicles that had been belched out with ash fall.
In addition, Shell carried out relief operations in two major evacuation centers in Batangas, mobilizing its Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. and the Malampaya Foundation Inc. for such initiatives.