Employees of Petron’s Bataan oil refinery can breathe a big sigh of relief, as the facility is no longer facing permanent closure thanks to the approval of the company’s registration as an enterprise of the Freeport Area of Bataan.
This is quite a turnaround. Late last year, Petron bared that the Bataan refinery was facing permanent closure due to tax woes with the Philippine government. The oil company now says it expects to infuse P3 billion into the facility over the next five years to improve its operating efficiency.
“The [Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB)] registration of the refinery facility of the company will help make its refining business more competitive by improving its financial viability in the long run and address some of its major concerns,” Petron stated in a recent Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) disclosure.
“As part of its commitment to AFAB, the company is expecting to undertake in the next five years several capital investments amounting to nearly P3 billion to further improve the efficiency of the integrated operation of its Petron Bataan Refinery.”
“The AFAB Board duly recognized the merits of the application. With this registration, Petron would be more competitive and in a better position to sustain its operation to supply fuel for the nation,” AFAB senior information officer Karen Padaoan explained, adding that the firm has paid billions of pesos in taxes and spent more than P500 million for corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that have contributed to the region’s growth.
Despite the AFAB approval, however, the planned temporary closure of the refinery is still scheduled to push through. “As previously disclosed on December 14, 2020, considering that the refining business remains challenging both here and around the world, the plan for the refinery to undergo an economic plant shutdown early this year will still proceed,” the disclosure reads.
That notwithstanding, this is a very welcome development. Petron’s Bataan refinery is the largest in the entire country, and its permanent closure would have resulted in countless jobs lost. Here’s to hoping the company bounces back this year.