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Petron allots P15B for network expansion, refinery upgrade

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AFP

PETRON CORP. is setting aside this year a capital expenditure of P15 billion to cover its network expansion and refinery improvement, company officials said on Tuesday.

Of the amount, P10 billion is for Philippine operations, while the rest is for operations in Malaysia, said Emmanuel E. Eraña, Petron senior vice-president and chief finance officer.

“[For the Philippines] two-thirds is mostly network expansion. The remaining is [for the] refinery [improvement],” Mr. Eraña told reporters after the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting at Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City.

He said the capex for the year is about the same as the previous year.

Lubin B. Nepomuceno, Petron general manager, said this year the company is looking at 200 new stations, of which 150 would be in the Philippines and 50 in Malaysia. Each station requires an investment of about P20 million.

In Malaysia, the company is targeting to have a total of 1,000 stations in five years. It now has 600 stations in Malaysia, after it acquired a company with existing operations.

“We have an organization that continues to look for opportunities,” Mr. Nepomuceno said.

He noted Petron takes about three to five years in putting up a station in Malaysia. The existing count after the acquisition allowed the company to be present in that country right away, Mr. Nepomuceno said.

Mr. Nepomuceno said the refinery expansion should have firm numbers once the company completes the studies for the project by year-end. He declined to give the projected capacity or the required budget for the expansion ahead of the study.

“What is known is that it is a CCRU (catalytic cracking reforming unit) project,” he said, adding that its output would be a combination of fuels but mostly petrochemicals.

“We’re going through basic engineering design. The execution requires [us] to look at all aspects of the plant,” Mr. Nepomuceno said.

Petron owns and operates a petroleum refining complex in the Bataan town with its own piers and two offshore berthing facilities. It also has a power plant that serves the needs of the refinery. Its refined petroleum products are marketed and distributed in the Philippines and Malaysia.

On Tuesday, shares in Petron rose 0.21% to close at P9.62 each. — V.V. Saulon