PILIPINAS Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) said on Friday that its oil refinery in Batangas province continues to operate safely while its retail stations serve as emergency response sites while Taal Volcano is erupting.

The listed company told the stock exchange that its staff and business partners in its Tabangao refinery “are safe and all accounted for.” It said while air quality had been assessed as good in the area of the refinery, “staff have been issued with appropriate face masks and safety glasses as a precautionary measure.”

“The Taal situation is being constantly monitored and business protocols are in place to respond to any potential change in circumstances,” it said.

The Tabangao refinery is one of the key facilities of the company in the Philippines. PSPC distributes the refined products produced at the facility and imported petroleum products, including lubricants and bitumen, through its 25 fuel distribution terminals and supply points, 10 lubricants warehouses and 2 bitumen production and import facilities spread throughout the Philippines.

On Aug. 29, 2019, the company launched a hydrogen manufacturing facility at the refinery in Batangas City in partnership with Air Liquide Philippines, Inc. The facility will be the first of its kind in the country and is targeted to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the refinery.

PSPC said that it is also providing, along with the Shell companies in the Philippines, in providing disaster response support to the affected communities.

It said 46 Shell retail stations surrounding the affected municipalities had been designated as emergency response sites to the public.

“These sites are open 24/7 to provide first aid, toilet facilities, hydration, free mobile charging, and windshield cleaning service. These sites also serve as drop off points for in-kind donations,” it said.

PSPC said relief operations had been mobilized in two major evacuation centers in Batangas City through the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. and the Malampaya Foundation Inc.

On Jan. 12, the Philippine Institute of Volcanic and Seismology raised an Alert Level 4 on Taal Volcano. The warning meant possible hazardous explosive eruption remains. It remains in effect as of Friday. –

On Friday, shares in PSPC slipped by P0.05 or 0.15% to close at P32.95 each. — Victor V. Saulon