PETRON CORP., the country’s largest oil refiner, said on Friday that it had rolled out fuel marking at its refinery in Bataan and its import facility in Misamis Oriental to support the government’s efforts to curb smuggling.

“We are optimistic that the fuel marking program will significantly address fuel smuggling, which has been a constant deterrent to the continued growth of our economy. Consumers also stand to gain once everyone gets on board as it will ensure that all fuel products in the market will be legitimately sourced,” said Ramon S. Ang, Petron president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Fuel marking involves the use of low concentrations of markers or dyes to be blended with the fuel, to mark the stages undergone by a particular batch of product, determining whether shipments have gone through legal import channels.

“These developments in our facilities testify to our firm commitment to support the government in their fight against smuggling. We also continue to work with their fuel marking team for the installation of the Automatic Injection System (AIS) in our refinery,” Mr. Ang said.

Petron’s refinery in Bataan has a maximum capacity of 180,000 barrel-per-day, making it the country’s largest supplying nearly a third of total fuel demand. It started fuel marking on Dec. 23, 2019.

The company said it had in “close coordination” with the Department of Finance, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and Bureau of Customs on the initiative since 2018. It said it had consistently expressed its support for the fuel marking program provided that it is enforced on a level playing field.

Petron’s move came after the Philippine Institute of Petroleum (PIP) said in July last year that its members, which includes the country’s biggest oil companies, were backing the fuel marking program of the government as a mechanism against smuggling and revenue leakages.

PIP, a business group operating in the country’s downstream oil industry, said its members include Petron, Chevron Philippines Inc., Isla LPG Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., PTT Philippines Corp., and Total Philippines Corp. — Victor V. Saulon