DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said demand for oil products will be higher in 2021 as the transportation sector continues to open and as the economy recovers.

Sa oil sector…magkakaroon iyon ng demand. Also, nagkakaroon tayo ng opening in the transportation sector where even the provincial buses are being allowed to operate (There will be demand in the oil sector. The transportation sector is opening up. Even provincial buses are being allowed to operate),” Mr. Cusi said at a briefing on Dec. 21.

Demand overall will also rise as the economy recovers, Mr. Cusi said.

He added that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including health workers and seafarers, will contribute to the recovery if the government increases deployment.

Pag nag-deploy tayo (when we deploy workers)…then that will help in our economic recovery,” he said, noting that OFWs were not able to travel for work this year, adding to the weak demand for oil.

Asked for an outlook on power, Mr. Cusi said that the DoE is carrying on with building power capacity, noting that the current supply “barely” meets demand. “We have to make sure that we are ready, but we are already building up the supply. Hindi pwede ‘yung intermittent supply (It won’t do to have intermittent supply) during our economic recovery,” he said.

“I think as far as the power demand is concerned, there will be (a) surge when we fully open our economy and the energy family must be ready to meet that,” he added.

At the same briefing, Mr. Cusi said Petron Corp.’s closure of its Bataan oil refinery was a business decision.

The company announced this month that it would shutter its 180,000-barrel-per-day crude oil refinery, the country’s only remaining refinery. Mr. Cusi also said that the closure would not affect the fuel supply. — Angelica Y. Yang