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DoE shelves plan to establish strategic oil reserve, citing cost

THE Department of Energy (DoE) said the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) will postpone its plan to establish a national strategic petroleum reserve.

Citing concerns about “the useful life of the investment” in light of declining oil use, Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla told reporters on the sidelines of a briefing on Monday that cost is also an issue.

Last year, the PNOC was seeking legislative approval for its plan to establish a permanent reserve.

“Of course, it won’t (happen) overnight; again, you’ve got to take a look at what will be the useful life of your investment. These are the things that we are considering,” he said.

PNOC described the reserve as a permanent stockpile that will help the Philippines ride out periods of severe supply disruption.

The strategic reserve “is an extensive undertaking which aims to provide an oil stockpile, either crude oil, finished petroleum products, or both.  Such magnitude and considerable funding required… will necessitate the implementation of the program in phases, depending on the resources available,” the PNOC said on its website.

According to the PNOC, the DoE commissioned the company to conduct a feasibility study and an implementation plan for the reserve.

Mr. Lotilla also said that the DoE is reviewing the work plan and projects of the PNOC.

“We are reviewing their work plan and projects so that they can concentrate on some alternative fuel,” Mr. Lotilla said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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