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PH refineries’ utilization down 58% last year

By Myrna M. Velasco

Utilization of the country’s two refineries had been down 58.8 percent in 2019 compared to a more robust run of 83.1 percent in 2018, according to a report of the Department of Energy (DOE).

The department said the lower utilization of the refineries of Petron Corporation and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation had been “due to consecutive maintenance shutdown,” that were implemented by the two companies last year.

“This resulted in a decrease in volume of crude processed at the refineries for year 2019 by 29.3 percent from 86,555 MB (thousand barrels) of year 2018 to 61,169 MB,” the DOE said.

Further, the agency indicated that domestic petroleum refinery output had dropped 30.8 percent to 59,000 MB in 2019 versus a relatively thriving scale of 85,958 MB the year before.

The energy department emphasized that because of lower utilization rate, average refining output had just been at 163,000 barrels per stream day, out of the combined maximum crude distillation capacity of the two refineries at 285,200 barrels per stream day.

Consequently, it was noted that the country’s crude imports last year declined by 27.1 percent to 62,531 MB vis-à-vis the previous year’s 85,753 MB.

“The decrease was attributed to the emergency and successive maintenance shutdown/turnaround schedules of the two refineries in the country,” the DOE has reiterated.

The bulk of the country’s crude oil imports had been sourced from the Middle East with 71.9 percent share – of which 25.5 percent came from Kuwait for 15,925 MB, replacing Saudi Arabia as top supplier of crude oil into the Philippines, with the oil kingdom’s share skid¬ding to 24.8 percent.

Other major sources of crude imports had been the United Arab Emirates with 20.1 percent fraction in the pie; followed by Russia with 15 percent share; while the rest are from the Far East region, Brazil, United States, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and Nigeria.

Conversely, the lower run of the refineries, the DOE stressed “resulted in high imports of finished petroleum products,” even for Petron and Pilipinas Shell “to augment their supply requirements and to ensure continuous supply during the period of shutdown.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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