Gov’t to re-study plan for oil stockpiling

by Myrna Velasco – February 17, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

With global oil prices plummeting rock bottom, the government via the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) will re-study options on petroleum stockpiling policy.

Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada said the conduct of a new round of oil stockpiling study is part of PNOC’s mandate to be accomplished this year.

“PNOC is the one tasked to study if stockpiling is feasible. It will have to look at the requirements for stockpiling, what mode (commercial or strategic reserve), how big the capacity should be and what would be the extent of investments,” she stressed.

Monsada has qualified though that if stockpiling will be explored, it shall be the private sector taking the lead on the capital outlay.

As far as the government is concerned, she noted that it does not have the resources and siting will likely be a dilemma – given the full privatization of Petron Corporation several years ago.

“On stockpiling, if you would ask government, not at the moment because we don’t have a site for it… Petron was already privatized,” she reiterated.

The energy chief has stressed though that on “strategic reserve viewpoint,” it will be a good energy security policy and option for a country – similar to what is being advocated by many of the neighbors in the Southeast Asian region.

“For ASEAN, it is good for energy security that you have a stockpile, especially so since at some point, prices are anticipated to rise.”

Monsada said the country will have to review the legislative and measure-crafting processes undertaken by other Asian countries – such as Japan and South Korea – when it comes to their oil stockpile facilities.

She noted that South Korea, in particular, embraced a “commercial stockpiling path,” but that is underpinned by subsidy which the Philippine government may not be able to afford.

For now, she noted that the fresh round of stockpile study will trace back the outcomes of the studies already undertaken and reconcile how they should fit or be modified according to present circumstances.