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PIA Press Release

Gov't must exploit reduced oil prices, says DCCCII

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (9 October) -- The Government must act now as oil companies are not doing something with the price of oil considering that the rates are already going down.

Antonio dela Cruz of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) at the Club 888 Forum on Wednesday said the Government must do something with the big 3 urging that when oil companies do not cooperate with government it is time to act now.

He said if they are not cooperating perhaps there is a need to impose higher taxes to these oil companies.

As reported earlier the House of Representatives is considering the imposition of a windfall profit tax on oil companies if they refuse to reduce pump prices.

He said whatever is being done in Manila will benefit those in the provinces.

Meanwhile Cruz said with current financial crisis in the US, the Filipinos are ready to face it.

He said when the US crisis occurred; the business sector especially had been affected firstly because of the increasing price of oil.

"We were able to mitigate that and manage to survive thus business went on as usual and stable," he said.

Business sector is where the money is and some companies because of the spiraling cost of oil went downsizing or retrenchment, he said.

"We Filipinos are ready given the many occasions that we've been through from the 1997 Financial Crisis, the oil crisis and now the US financial crisis we can overcome this," he said.

Data from the Department of Energy showed that the Philippines downstream oil industry had been deregulated since 1998 and is currently dominated by two (2) major oil refining and marketing companies; Petron and Pilipinas Shell. A third oil refiner and marketer, Caltex Philippines Inc. converted its 86,500 bbl/d refinery into an import terminal in 2003 and now operates as a plain marketing and distributing company under the name "Chevron" but maintains its Caltex brand. Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), a state-owned company, and Saudi Aramco jointly own Petron; each with a 40 percent stake while the public holds the remaining 20 percent share.

Petron operates an 180,000 bbl/d refinery and over 1,200 gasoline stations nationwide; Pilipinas Shell has one 110,000 bbl/d refinery and about 800 gasoline stations; and Caltex/Chevron has 2 import terminals, and around 850 retail gas stations nationwide.

Caltex built the first petroleum refinery in 1954. Followed by Stanvac in 1960, with the construction of what is now the biggest oil refinery in the country -the Bataan Refining Corporation. Shell Refinery started operations in July 1962 while a local player, Filoil Refinery, began operations in September 1962.

Currently there are 3,472 registered gasoline dispensing stations,182 LPG refilling plants, 28.30 MB of storage capacity and 16.62 MMB depots (import and export terminals). A 135 km white-oil and 100 km black-oil pipelines are used to transport oil from the refineries in Batangas to Manila and vice versa. (PIA) [top]

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