PILIPINAS Shell Petroleum Corp. has launched its import facility in Tabangao, Batangas, which is seen to strengthen the firm’s capacity in meeting the fuel demands of Metro Manila, Southern Luzon and Northern Visayas.

The import terminal has a storage capacity of up to 263 million liters and features jetties with loading arms, which speed up product transfers from various sizes of vessels.

Previously, the firm shuttered its former refinery in Tabangao to transform it into a terminal.

“The transformation of our refinery into a world-class import facility demonstrates Shell’s commitment to provide sustainable energy to the Philippines despite the challenging conditions posed by the pandemic. We are now better positioned, operationally and financially, to serve the country’s energy needs as the economy reopens with the lifting of restrictions,” Pilipinas Shell President and Chief Executive Officer Cesar G. Romero said in a statement.

He said the import facility had given Pilipinas Shell a more balanced and competitive marketing portfolio, supported by the firm’s robust supply chain.

The terminal fully runs on solar, geothermal and hydropower energies provided by Shell Energy Philippines, a retail electricity supplier under the Shell companies in the Philippines.

On Wednesday, the company held the terminal’s inauguration ceremony, which was attended by officials from the Energy and Trade departments, and the Batangas government.

“In May 2020, I was informed of the Tabangao shutdown which later led to its permanent shutdown in August. Despite this, Pilipinas Shell proved its resilience in its quick decision to transform the refinery into a world-class import terminal. [This is] a business call that would ensure continued fuel supply while enhancing the revenues and supply performances,” Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said.

He added that the department will remain supportive of Pilipinas Shell’s endeavors, which will “bring our country closer to achieving energy security, independence, and sustainability.”

Pilipinas Shell reported a first-quarter attributable net income of P1 billion, swinging from the P5.5-billion loss it incurred in the same period the year before, despite a low sales volume. The company credited the profitable quarter “to its new supply chain strategy, higher premium penetration across all segments and continued cash conservation measures.”

Pilipinas Shell shares shed 2.44% or 50 centavos to finish at P20 apiece on Wednesday. — Angelica Y. Yang