July 23, 2018, 2:07 am
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PNOC offers Limay land for Petron expansion

Petron Corp. is considering an offer by the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) for additional land in Limay, Bataan to accommodate the oil firm’s planned expansion of its refinery capacity.

Ramon Ang, Petron president and chief executive officer, said   PNOC offered the property “if we need an expansion of the refinery.”

Ang said he would consider an expansion in the current location rather than build another one in an entirely new area due to its advantages in terms of cost and timeframe for completion.

“They (PNOC) provided us  the figures, asked us if we need an expansion of the refinery and if the rate is acceptable to us,” said Ang.

 At present, Petron is operating a 180,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in the said location.

 “We are planning to expand the refinery from 180,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd. The land required for this expansion is about 100 hectares, of which some can come from PNOC and most of the other properties are owned by other people. If we can acquire it by lease or acquisition from other people, we will consider to expand the refinery,” Ang said.

“I cannot speculate the cost of land (needed for the project). However, a new refinery with a capacity of 200,000 bpd will likely cost about $15 to $20 billion compared to a budget of $5 to $10 billion if we put up a 100,000 bpd in the old site,” Ang added.

Ang also said Petron is  aware that some properties being offered by PNOC for the expansion are occupied by informal settlers.

He said Petron is willing to spend money and negotiate with the latter for a relocation program.

 If the company pushes through with its planned refinery expansion, its capability will be close to the Philippines’ 350,000 bpd requirement for oil.

Petron and PNOC are currently mired 

 Ang said Petron has already contacted PNOC several times on the issue of the renewal of expiring land lease contracts for the properties owned by government covering 67 service stations and 24 bulk plants that are set to expire August next year.
“We have an automatic renewal under the contract so we don’t really need to talk to them. We sat down with them, we gave them (the) latest appraisal report. We are willing to increase the rent and discuss but if they want us to waive all our rights, we will not agree,” Ang said. 

But he added  government must honor its contracts  with investors because sudden changes to rules are discouraging business opportunities.

 “To assure foreign investors, it was indicated in the contract that there will be an automatic renewal as a protection even if government policies change. Why are they (PNOC) asking us now a waiver? If we cannot be satisfied, we go to the higher court or authority,” Ang added.
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