Petron won’t close Limay refinery

Published May 18, 2021, 3:31 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

With a conclusive decision sounded off to stockholders, Petron Corporation has shifted ground on its earlier plan of shutting down its 180,000 barrels-per-stream-day Limay refinery.

Petron President and CEO Ramon S. Ang

During the company’s annual stockholders meeting on Tuesday (May 18), Petron President and CEO Ramon S. Ang stipulated that it will not make any economic sense for the company to cease its refining operations even if a competitor had done so last year.

“Unlike Shell, Petron is a modern refinery which we have upgraded only about five years ago and the refinery is very competitive and we see no reason for us to shut down the refinery,” he stressed.

As a matter of fact, Ang qualified that the company is now preparing for the resumption of operations of its refining facility this June – following a four-month temporary downtime that started in February.

“We are set to re-start the refinery this coming June; and unless there’s a hard lockdown and the volume drops down tremendously, the refinery is a very viable business,” he said.

Emmanuel E. Eraña, senior vice president and chief finance officer of Petron, indicated that with the newly approved registration of their Limay refinery as enterprise-locator at the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), “this will benefit the company through better timing of payment and accurate tax base for value added tax.”

And with the forthcoming return-to-operation of the firm’s Limay refining facility, he conveyed that “we continue to extensively pursue various efficiency and margin enhancement programs to optimize Petron’s refinery asset.”

At the height of the health crisis’ incursion last year, Eraña further narrated that despite their operational challenges then, “our refinery in Bataan also served as our main import facility which ensured stable and reliable supply of petroleum products during the pandemic.”

For this year, the first quarter financial results of the company showed green shoots of recovery as it already bounced back to profitability, and the general expectation is for this to be continually perked up through the remaining months of the year.

“We certainly believe it (trend) will continue to deliver good performance unless there’s strict lockdown again,” Ang emphasized.

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By far, despite the extreme blow of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company chief executive noted that “Petron’s balance sheet is very strong and we have prepared the company to be able to weather this kind of storm,” as he also assured shareholders that “this company will survive and will make good return for everybody.”