Philippines oil terminals face closure ordinance

The Philippines state-owned Petron Corp., Chevron Philippines Inc., and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. have issued a joint statement calling on the Philippines Supreme Court to reconsider its decision requiring the Manila city government to enforce an ordinance closing all oil terminals in the Pandacan district.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Mar. 15 -- The Philippines state-owned Petron Corp., Chevron Philippines Inc., and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. have issued a joint statement calling on the Philippines Supreme Court to reconsider its decision requiring the Manila city government to enforce an ordinance closing all oil terminals in the Pandacan district.

Residents in the densely populated area have expressed fears that it could become a target for terrorists, and the Court, warning on Mar. 7 of "catastrophic devastation" in the event of such an attack, gave the oil companies 6 months to shut down their operations in the district.

The companies, however, argue that the Court was not duly informed by the parties to the case that the city ordinance issued in 2001 to close the facilities was no longer enforceable and that a revised ordnance gives them up to 7 years to move.

They also noted the adverse consequences of an immediate closure, saying it would "affect most industries—transport, construction, food manufacturing, mining, power generation, air and sea travel. This would consequently have a negative effect on the national economy."

The oil companies warned of a "disastrous chain of events" should the Pandacan terminals be shut down, saying their facilities in the district supply 50% of the country's oil products, including 70% of the shipping industry's fuel requirements, 90% of lubricants, and 75% of nationwide aviation fuel.

"At present and in the foreseeable future, there are no viable relocation sites that have the adequate infrastructure in place and close enough to Metro Manila and its environs to ensure a reliable and safe supply of products," the companies said.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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