Oil imports, refinery output slumped in H1
A cocktail of general lockdown, travel restrictions and refinery shutdowns in the first half of 2020 resulted in a 28-percent year-on-year drop in crude oil import volumes and 35 percent in the volume of refined petroleum imports.
In the latest semestral report on domestic oil supply and demand, the Department of Energy (DOE) said inbound shipments of crude oil slid to 3.5 billion liters (about 21.6 million barrels) from 4.8 billion liters (29.9 million barrels).
Refinery throughput fell by 19 percent to 3.98 billion liters (25 million barrels) in the first six months this year from 4.9 billion liters (30.8 million barrels).
Back then, there were still two refiners in the Philippines—Petron Corp. with a facility in Bataan province and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. with one in Batangas province—that represent a combined refining capacity of 285,200 barrels daily.
But capacity usage was just 57 percent as Petron’s refinery temporarily stopped operations in early May for maintenance activities. Shell’s followed suit later that month, citing worsening low refining margins caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Petron resumed refinery operations only last month while Shell opted for a permanent shutdown and would, instead, reconfigure its facility for fully import-oriented operations.
In the first half, refinery output dropped by 19 percent to 3.9 million liters from 4.8 million liters.
“This observation is consistent with the observed decrease in demand in the liquid fuels retail outlets with the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine,” the DOE said.
Also in the first half, the Philippines received 5.96 billion liters of imported petroleum products, a decrease of 35 percent from 9.2 billion liters
From January to June, domestic demand for refined products shrank by 23 percent to 10.8 billion liters from 14 million liters previously.
“The decrease is attributed to reduced economic activity due to lockdown and travel restrictions because of the pandemic,” the DOE said.
Demand for diesel and gasoline was slashed by one-fifth while demand for aviation fuel slumped by 41 percent.