SEAOIL Philippines, Inc. is investing P740 million into the construction of a bulk terminal in an economic zone in Zamboanga City, the independent oil firm said on Thursday.

In a media release, Seaoil Chief Operating Officer Stephen L. Yu said that the partnership with Zamboanga Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (ZFA) is more than just a business decision for the company.

“By opening a terminal here in Zamboanga City, we can make our quality products more accessible to retail customers and commercial industries in the area,” said Mr. Yu, who is also the company’s president for commercial business.

The depot, which is designed for 18 million liters of storage capacity, can receive direct importations. It is seen to widen Seaoil’s capability in Mindanao to directly import petroleum products.

Seaoil quoted ZFA Chairman Raul M. Regondola as saying, “We welcome this partnership with open arms as this is an excellent opportunity to pump more economic activity into the city. We also look forward to the jobs this terminal will bring to our locals.”

The investment marks Seaoil’s foray into an economic zone, with the project breaking ground on May 25, 2022. The partnership with ZFA firms up a 50-year agreement with the ecozone to create development projects and activities for terminal and jetty operations.

The depot’s leased area covers 2.12 hectares, with an option for expansion. The terminal and jetty development is set to be completed next year. Operations are projected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“The construction and operation of the facility will also provide more jobs and create more economic activities in the local community,” Mr. Yu said.

The project is expected to generate more than 300 jobs during construction and operations, 90% of which will come from the local communities of Zamboanga City.

Mr. Yu said that as Seaoil expands its retail footprint in southern Mindanao, more consumers from Zamboanga, Jolo, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi can experience the company’s innovations such as its mobile app.

The fuel-saving app, PriceLOCQ, protects users from price hikes by enabling them to buy and store Seaoil fuels for later use while prices are lower. It currently has more than 200,000 active users.

Last year, it launched LubeServ, its own branded service center. It provides automotive repairs and lubricant services using Seaoil products. It has its home service version called LubeServ on Wheels for customers who wish to have repairs and mechanics done at their preferred location.

Seaoil has more than 650 branches nationwide, and targets to hit 1,000 branches in 2023. — VVS