Petron says to restart refinery at below half rate

Reuters

Posted at Feb 10 2009 08:07 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2009 04:07 AM

Petron Corp., the Philippines' biggest oil firm, plans to restart its refinery this week at less than half its capacity after an extended maintenance shutdown that began in December, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The restart of the 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery would be gradual and the facility is projected to run at an initial 75,000 bpd in February, on average and the company will continue to import oil products.

"We expect to resume operations within the week, and back to normal in March," said Petron spokeswoman Virginia Ruivivar.

The refinery was running at 70-75 percent of its capacity over the past two to three years under normal conditions.

The shutdown was initially expected to last for just a month. Officials earlier said the maintenance checks took longer because it also involved preparations for the tie-in of Petron's petrochemicals facility to its catalytic generator, due for commissioning in the first quarter. 

Petron has been importing its oil product needs since December to cover for the refinery maintenance, officials earlier said without giving details on volumes. It is expected to continue to do so to fill any shortfall this month.