Eastern Petroleum plans to add 50 company-owned outlets

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EASTERN Petroleum Corp. targets to corner a 5% share of the market for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the next three years as it plans to put up more company-owned outlets that will focus on densely populated markets.

“We are adding 50 corporate outlets, meaning company-owned,” Fernando L. Martinez, Eastern Petroleum president and chief executive officer, told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

He said having full control of the new outlets this year, which will add to the existing 140, would allow the company to concentrate in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon.

“These three regions constitute already the equivalent of half of the total consumption of LPG for the entire industry,” he said, adding that the Philippines consumes around 100 million kilograms (kg) of LPG a month.

That consumption is divided by 11-kg cylinders, which is the container packaging for the fuel used by households. Eastern Petroleum markets its LPG Gas under the EC Gas brand.

Mr. Martinez said in the next three years, the company should hold at least 500 million kilograms for a 5% share. He said at present, the company has a share of less than 1%, but the addition of new company-owned dealerships would hasten the expansion of its market reach.

“If we hit 1% this year we will be happy because it will require so much investment,” he said. “For me to get 5%, I need P4-5 billion [in capital expenditure].”

On the retail petroleum outlets, Mr. Martinez said the company ended 2018 with a total of 25 stations.

“[In] retail, we are bullish in expansion,” he said. But the challenge is the availability of real estate as sites become more expensive with the increase in the number of market players and the shrinking size of unoccupied areas.

Eastern Petroleum held the briefing on Thursday to announce its partnership with the Bureau of Fire Protection in ensuring households are safe from LPG-related fires and even deaths.

Mr. Martinez said the partnership with Eastern Petroleum and the fire bureau goes beyond the Fire Prevention Month in March as a pact would be finalized in the near term.

“We, at Eastern Petroleum and EC Gas, continue to look into developing value-added services that equip its retail network with best practices that they could share with their household and commercial customers,” he said.

EC Gas LPG is designed based on composite cylinder technology that uses seamless polymer, fiberglass construction and molded high-density polyethylene casing, which comes with regulators that are built for efficiency and safety. — Victor V. Saulon