DoE activates oil contingency task force

Oil Industry officials and representatives convene at the DoE Headquarters' Boardroom to discuss the recent developments in the international oil market, with Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos as the lead official of the DoE. (DoE)

TAGUIG CITY – The Department of Energy (DoE) has activated the Oil Contingency Task Force (OCTF) to address immediate oil supply concerns arising from last week’s drone attacks on Saudi Arabian refineries.

“We realize the importance of addressing issues beforehand so that the government may have contingency measures to sustain the country’s economic growth and provide basic services to the people,” said DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi during the meeting with proposed members of the OCTF on Friday.

“The activation of the OCTF is vital to our resiliency because we are currently dependent on oil imports,” he added.

DoE Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos Spokesperson and Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella co-chaired the meeting, while Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) Director Rino E. Abad led the presentation on the country’s current oil supply.

The meeting with the oil industry players was presided by Marcos with OIMB Assistant Director Rodela I. Romero as co-chair.

Cusi assured that the DOE is working 24/7 to address oil-related concerns brought about by the attacks in one of our biggest oil sources in the Middle East.

Possible contingency measures to be implemented are the preparation of oil supply replacement and a possible increase in the biofuel blends as an option to mitigate potential supply shortages.

“We are reminding everyone to practice energy efficiency measures like carpooling and the use of public transport so that we may all contribute to help the nation and the environment,” Cusi added.

The DoE also reminded oil players to strictly comply with the Minimum Inventory Requirement (MIR) 30 days oil stock for oil refiners, 15 days for bulk marketers, and seven days for liquefied petroleum gas players.

Marcos sought the inputs from the invitees to be incorporated into the proposed Executive Order that would formally activate the OCTF.

A proposal to increase the MIR to 60 days was raised during the meeting, but oil representatives said the immediate creation of additional infrastructure along with the added logistical demand may prove costly and detrimental to the current operations.

As for oil prices, the DoE explored the possibility of staggering oil price increases. The oil players took note of the proposal and shared that based on indicative figures in the world oil market, present pump prices remain lower than 2018 figures even with the 2019 tranche of the TRAIN law in effect, and that the country as a whole is affected by world oil price volatility.

Key officials and representatives from the Philippine Competition Commission, Department of National Defense, Department of Trade and Industry, National Security Council, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Justice were present during the meeting. The representatives from the Office of Senator Win Gatchalian, Philippine Institute of Petroleum, and other oil industry representatives were also in attendance.

p: wjg