‘Big 3’ oil firms out of Pandacan depot by Nov.
Officials of the so-called “Big 3” oil companies have said they will be out of the Pandacan oil depot in Manila by November.
This was the assurance they gave Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso who visited the facility on Monday to determine their compliance with the Supreme Court order for the depot’s transfer.
Of the Big 3 oil firms, only Petron has dismantled all of its fuel tanks and transferred these to Navotas and the provinces of Cavite and Bataan. As proof, Petron chair and CEO Ramon Ang, who was present during the inspection, used a lighter in the area formerly occupied by the oil company.
Food complex proposed
Ang told reporters that he would soon present to Estrada a master plan for a proposed food complex to rise in the area. The project, he said, would generate jobs for workers about to be displaced by the closure of the depot.
At the same time, he announced that Petron would continue to maintain its clinic which offers x-ray and ultrasound services so that it could keep on helping residents in the area.
Shell, on the other hand, has dismantled three of its 14 fuel tanks and moved these to its refinery in Batangas province, according to Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. president Edgar Chua.
Chua, however, said that the relocation may result in a price increase and affect the reliability of the oil supply as deliveries would be coming from outside Metro Manila.
“But since it’s [a] free market, if other oil companies will not [hike prices], we will [also] not increase and just absorb the higher cost,” he added.
In a statement, Raissa Bautista of Chevron Philippines Inc. said that the oil firm has stopped using the facility since June 2014. At the moment, it has dismantled 40 percent of its tanks, shifting the load to other supply points like its Batangas terminal.
Estrada, meanwhile, thanked the oil companies for their compliance with the Supreme Court order to “ensure public safety.” He also expressed gratitude for their promised support in developing the area for commercial and residential purposes.
The city government has created a technical monitoring group to conduct ocular inspections of the oil depot starting Aug. 24 to determine the three oil companies’ compliance with their respective relocation plans.
In March, the Supreme Court, voting 11-2, upheld with finality its November 2014 ruling ordering the removal of the oil depot for safety and security reasons.
It gave the oil companies a nonextendable period of 45 days to submit to the Manila Regional Trial Court, which originally handled the case, an updated comprehensive plan and relocation schedule, with the relocation completed not later than six months from the date the plan was submitted.
Earlier, Estrada announced that the depot might be closed by January next year.