Amid the recent oil supply scare in the Middle East, the Department of Energy (DOE) is fast-tracking its petroleum strategic reserve (PSR) program to assure the country of continuous supply of fuel.
At the sidelines of the agency’s budget hearing at the Senate in Pasay City yesterday, energy officials expressed the possibility of leasing a floating oil storage if the need arises before the government completes the construction of an onshore storage facility.
“We’re working on our petroleum strategic reserve. It takes at least two years to make it happen because of construction of storage facilities and in case of emergency, we can have a floating storage,” Alfonso Cusi, DOE secretary, said at the budget hearing.
Donato Marcos, DOE undersecretary, said the floating oil storage to be leased may have the capability of carrying as much as 30 million to 60 million liters of finished fuel products, depending on the requirement.
Marcos said the agency cannot assure at this time whether the fuel that will be procured under such measure will be cheaper than the market price, as the priority is to ensure availability of fuel supply.
“At present, minimum inventory requirements is 15 days (for finished products,) 30 days for crude and seven days for LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). With the PSR, it will basically be doubled but based on initial meetings with oil companies, infrastructure, which is primary requirement, will cost a lot and may be passed on to consumers so such plan is sensitive and it is why the government will intervene,” he explained.
Apart from the PSR, the officials also mentioned plans by the government to import cheaper fuels to supply the marginalized sector especially the public utility vehicle owners, apart from possible government to government supply deals.
Cusi said there are bilateral agreements being crafted with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Brunei and Russia for assured fuel supply in case of events that could cause disruptions in the global market.