Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) has informed the Department of Finance (DOF) it is ready to start the automated fuel marking this month at its 90-million-liter North Mindanao Import Facility (NMIF) in Cagayan de Oro City which services the requirements of Visayas and Mindanao.
PSPC also said efforts are underway to install and commission a similar automated fuel marking injection system at its refinery in Tabangao, Batangas, to support the government’s fuel marking program.
The program aims to minimize oil smuggling and misdeclaration which reportedly cost the government at least P40 billion in annual revenue losses.
Distribution of marked fuels to over 1,000 Shell retail sites nationwide will start in Mindanao and Visayas from November 2019, and in Luzon by February 2020. Complete distribution of marked fuels to all its retail sites is expected to take two to three months.
“We are coordinating with the DOF and its contractor on how a manual fuel marking process may be safely implemented in a complex facility like a refinery to meet their aspirations for an earlier start-up. We are working double-time to start automated fuel marking at our manufacturing facility by February 2020,” Serge Bernal, PSPC vice president for external and government relations, said in a statement.
Bernal said unlike the NMIF which is a storage facility, there are numerous safety risks involved in manually marking fuel in a refinery.
Earlier this year, PSPC gave the DOF access to its fuel marking experts from Shell & Turcas Petrol A.Ş. in Turkey as it is the only other country that has implemented fuel marking on a nationwide scale.
Under the fuel marking program, a unique chemical marker will be introduced to all petroleum products to make it traceable and difficult to dilute fuel. It will serve as a deterrent to fuel smuggling since it enables quicker detection of illicit fuels once the local market is fully saturated with marked petroleum products.