Petron unfazed by impact of pandemic on operations

Despite challenging times, Petron Corp. on Tuesday said it remains “on top” of its game, assuring the public that it will continue to provide uninterrupted supply of petroleum products.

“With a forward-looking game plan, we remain on top of our game. We never compromise on operation excellence. We comply with international standards,” said  Petron Chief Finance Officer and Senior Vice President Emmanuel E. Eraña during the company’s annual meeting.

Petron ended the first quarter with a net loss of P4.9 billion, a reversal from the P1.3-billion net income it recorded in the same period last year.

Revenues also went down by 16 percent to P104.6 billion, from last year’s P124.6 billion. Also, the combined the sales volume of Petron in the Philippines and Petron Malaysia was also lower at 24.7 million barrels, from the 26.3 million barrels recorded in the previous year.

Moreover, its refinery in Bataan was shut down to give way to maintenance activities.

Nonetheless, the company made an assurance that it has enough inventory to supply domestic market requirements, which will be replenished through importation of finished products.

“Amid these challenges, Petron maintained its status as industry leader, serving about a third of the local demand,” said Eraña.

Petron recently opened 124 new stations, helping maintain its record of having the most number of stations in the country at over 2,400.

Petron President and CEO Ramon S. Ang noted that the entire industry is going through a “rough phase” because of Covid-19’s impact on oil demand and prices. Petron observed that domestic consumption has gone down particularly in retail and aviation, mainly due to the travel bans and quarantine restrictions.

When asked if the programmed capital expenditure (capex) for the year would be affected by these challenges, Ang said, “It depends on Covid-19.” He did not elaborate.

Eraña, meanwhile, said recovery in economic and social activities may not yet happen soon. “Due to oversupply and plummeting demand due to Covid pandemic made the business climate even more difficult for refiners such as Petron.  The pandemic has drastically affected fuel demand globally.”

“Since the outbreak, jet fuel consumption saw a plunge of about 70 percent worldwide while local demand for fuel also dropped by as much as 60 percent, and we are not seeing a definite resumption in economic and social activity anytime soon.”

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