APRIL 29, 2006
 (STAR) By Donnabelle L. Gatdula - Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla assured yesterday that the country still has an adequate oil inventory despite the continued volatility of world crude prices.

"We want to assure everyone that we have enough supply. There is no reason to panic on that end," he said.

Lotilla said the Philippines has 78 days of oil inventory as of April 14 of which 13 days are in stock, 23 days in transit, and 42 are in product or those already in the market. The inventory is enough to cover two to four months of the country’s fuel requirements.

At present, the Philippines consumes a total of about 299,000 barrels of oil per day.

But the energy chief noted that there might be some domestic oil supply constraints. "It does happen. There are temporary shortage of demand from some off-grid islands," he said.

Lotilla said for the next two-month period May and June, an increase in consumption of oil and bunker-based power generating plants in the island grids is expected as these are still summer months.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has been pushing for policies that would lessen the country’s dependence on imported crude oil.

The DOE said it would continue to implement mitigating measures as directed by President Arroyo and strictly encourage energy conservation to soften the impact of high oil prices on the economy and the consuming public.

The DOE also anticipates the pending bills, calling for the mandatory mix of biofuels derived from agricultural products such as coconut and sugar to lessen the country’s dependence on imported fuel, to be passed as soon as Congress resumes its session next month. Oil companies are also expected to increase the number of their stations nationwide offering P1 discount on diesel product.

The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) was also instructed to make financial assistance available to individual taxi drivers who wish to convert to auto LPG for their fuel requirements.

Also, in view of delays encountered by oil refiner Pilipinas Shell in the construction of mother-daughter refilling stations for compressed natural gas (CNG), the state-run Philippine National Oil Co. in joint venture with foreign investors will put up an additional CNG mother-daughter station within nine months.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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