The country will soon reduce its dependence on imported oil and other petroleum products as the Department of Energy (DOE) sought to establish the Philippine Strategic Petroleum Reserve Program (PSRP).
DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi, in a statement Wednesday, Sept. 22, said he issued Department Circular (DC) No. DC2021-09-0028 which will serve as the implementing guidelines for the establishment of the PSRP.
He said the country will now be "closer to attaining energy security by decreasing our dependence on the importation of crude oil and finished petroleum products to meet our fuel requirements."
It would become possible as the order mandates the establishment of a government-owned reserve of crude oil, finished petroleum products and biofuel reserve to enhance the security of fuel supply in the country.
According to Cusi, the PSRP will be jointly implemented by the DOE and the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).
In 2019, DOE directed the PNOC to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of a Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) which would consist large stockpiles of crude oil and petroleum products, and would be stored in various facilities in the country.
These product reserves will be released during periods of local or international oil supply disruptions, Cusi explained.
"This would enable the government to address a severe international supply interruption or to implement the Targeted Fuel Relief Program," he added.
Under the circular, PNOC is tasked, among other responsibilities, to acquire the necessary storage and blending capacity by construction, lease, or other acquisition options based on the agreed minimum and maximum volume level determined by the feasibility study and specified on the approved guideline on securing storage and blending facility.
The DOE said the storage and blending facility should be consistent with the supply contract and products portfolio.
It added that PNOC is also responsible for acquiring the appropriate supply contracts and product type portfolio that allows it to secure the necessary volume to attain the objective of PSRP as well as for establishing the competence to distribute products to the intended purpose of the PSRP—from the transport logistics to the fuel discharge to the end-consumers.
The circular stated the DOE and PNOC are mandated to utilize the assistance of the existing Inter-Agency Contingency Committee (IECC) created by Administrative Order No. 6 in the implementation of the preparatory activities and the actual implementation of the PSRP.
They are also tasked to ensure continuous engagement and participation with international commitments on oil stockpiling projects and initiatives.
The DOE said that the new circular issued Sep. 16 will take effect 15 days following its complete publication in two newspapers of general circulation.