Petron Inaugurates $100-Million Clean Air Facilities at its Bataan Refinery

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Underscoring its commitment to lead the way in environmental stewardship, the country's largest oil refiner and market leader Petron Corporation inaugurated its $100-million Clean Air facilities at its refinery in Limay, Bataan. The facilities—a 22,000 barrel per day (bpd) Gasoil Hydrotreater (GOHT) and a 10,000 bpd Light Virgin Naphtha Isomerization (Isom) unit—puts Petron in a unique position of being the only oil company in the country capable of producing Clean Air Act (CAA)-compliant fuels to meet its domestic requirements.

The GOHT significantly reduces the sulfur content in diesel while the Isom enables the production of high-octane gasoline within the CAA-prescribed limits on aromatics and benzene (35% and 2% respectively).

"We have always endeavored to meet environmental standards set by the government through the DENR. These facilities will give us the ability to produce fuels that could match the more stringent product specifications in Europe and the United States," Chairman Nicasio I. Alcantara said. "More importantly, the country now has a reliable and steady supply of clean fuels amid uncertain conditions in the global oil market."

Since the passage of the CAA, oil companies have resorted to importing fuels and/or blending components to meet the law's more stringent product specifications. Even refiners like Petron imported products due to process limitations.

Alcantara added that the new units will eliminate the need for product imports which will result in dollar savings for the country.

In June 2004, Petron signed a $100-million five-year term loan with Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, Singapore branch and its three arrangers namely Citibank/Citigroup Global Markets Asia, ING Bank N.V. and SAMBA Financial Group of Saudi Arabia. The loan has an interest margin of 120 basis points over the 3 or 6 month LIBOR. The term loan was used to construct the GOHT and Isom.

"Our loan set a benchmark for having the lowest cost in the market which reflects the banking community's confidence in Petron's viability and growth prospects," President and CEO Khalid D. Al-Faddagh said. "Our investment in the GOHT and Isom highlights our belief in the Philippine economy, and our desire to contribute to its progress."

In the last quarter of 2004, Petron's Bataan refinery achieved another significant milestone when its Environmental Management System was given ISO-14001 certification. The refinery was given the certification after only one round of grueling environmental audits by TUV Suddeutschland (SUD) Group.

"Our decisions relating to environmental initiatives consider a balance of their contribution to the bottom line and a commitment to sustainable development and the welfare of future generations," Al-Faddagh added.

Petron's 180,000 bpd refinery processes crude oil into a full range of world-class petroleum products including LPG, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, fuel oil and mixed xylene.

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