DOE to monitor oil companies’ compliance with directive to sell Euro-4 grade fuel

by Lenie Lectura – January 22, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE Department of Energy (DOE) said on Friday it would closely monitor all oil companies’ compliance with a department order requiring them to sell cleaner fuel.

Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos said “not all” oil firms are already compliant with Euro 4 standard. However, the agency has to verify this via strict monitoring.

“Preparations are under way,” Marcos said in an interview. The DOE official was referring to how the agency intends to monitor the oil firms’ compliance.

“We are already fast-tracking this,” he said.

Separately, Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada, in a speech delivered recently, said, “Market inspection has to be looked into closely along with strengthened information, education and communication [IEC] campaigns, especially that the government is already implementing Euro 4/IV standards on all petroleum products sold in the market, as well as the nearing implementation of higher biofuel blends.”

Euro 4 is a globally accepted European emission standard for vehicles that require the use of fuel with significantly low sulfur (0.005 percent or 50 parts per million) and benzene (maximum of 1 percent by volume) contents.

Euro 4 compliant fuels replace Euro 2 products that have been marketed since 2008. Under Euro 2 standards, fuels have up to 0.05 percent sulfur or 500 parts per million and up to 5 percent benzene.

The DOE circular states that “starting January 1, 2016, only gasoline and diesel fuels complying with the standard specifications for Euro 4 shall be allowed for sale at the bulk and retail levels in the country,” stated the circular.

The agency, according to the circular, will conduct “random quality sampling and testing of gasoline and diesel obtained from the facilities of the oil testing of gasoline and diesel obtained from the facilities of the oil companies to ensure compliance.

The oil firms should ensure that the personnel at their retail stations are sufficiently acquainted with the Euro 4 standard in order to inform customers of new product specifications.

“Any person who fails to comply with the provisions of this department circular shall be subject to appropriate sanctions imposed under applicable laws and implementing rules and regulations,” stated the circular.

When asked what are the possible sanctions, Marcos said “it’s part of the preparations” that the DOE is undertaking.

The oil firms said separately that their fuel products are now Euro 4 compliant.

Last week, PTT Philippines said that as of November 2015, PTT gasoline (Performa 97, Superb 95, and Eco 93) and diesel (Dynamic) products were rolled out at all its retail stations. PTT Philippines currently has more than 90 retail stations in Metro Manila, Luzon and Cebu.

“PTT Philippines’ compliance came way ahead of the January 1, 2016 deadline set by the DOE for oil companies to upgrade to cleaner emission standards of fuel from Euro 2 to Euro 4,” said PTT in a statement.

PTT Philippines President and CEO Sukanya Seriyothin said that since PTT has no refinery in the Philippines, they have been importing the Euro 4 fuels from its parent firm in Thailand which has been producing and offering Euro 4 emission standard fuels for years already.

While producing and importing Euro 4 fuel is more expensive, PTT assured its customers that it won’t affect the price in the retail stations.

Petron Corp., meanwhile, launched its Euro 4 gasoline products in June last year, while its diesel products met global Euro 4 fuel standards in October last year.

“We are proud that all of Petron’s Euro 4 fuels are made in the Philippines and are specially formulated to meet the unique needs of our customers. We can guarantee the quality and properties of our fuels since we produce them here, formulate them here, and test them here,” Petron President and CEO Ramon S. Ang said.

Petron fuels are locally produced at its refinery in Bataan and formulated for Philippine driving conditions.

Petron invested $2 billion to further upgrade its Bataan Refinery and make it at par with the most advanced refineries in the region. Dubbed the Refinery Master Plan -2, Petron can now produce more higher-value products such as gasoline and petrochemicals while eliminating negative margin fuel oil.