By HENRY EMPEÑO
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Corporation (PCSPC), operator of petroleum storage facilities here and the Subic-Clark fuel pipeline, inaugurated on Friday three more fuel storage tanks, thereby doubling the capacity of the former U.S. military fuel depot here 24 years after its turnover to private management.
The new facilities unveiled at the firm’s Maritan Hill Tank Farm comprised three 180,000-barrel storage tanks and two tank-truck loading racks. These were formally turned over to PCSPC by the builder, Aboitiz Construction Group Inc. (ACGI) also on Friday.
PCSPC Chairman Michael Rodriguez said the 540,000 barrels of additional storage capacity will increase the company’s total fuel storage to 5.2 million barrels, more than double the facility’s original capacity of 2.4 million barrels.
The Subic facility handles various fuel products like diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and oil.
“This considerable increase in storage is in response to our customer’s demand for quality and available fuel storage in Subic Bay, and we are pleased to be able to provide this new expansion to accommodate their needs,” Rodriguez said.
The project also completes PCSPC’s commitment to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to invest and build 1.8 million barrels of fuel tank storage at the Maritan tank farm.
“With our existing long-term lease agreement with the SBMA, PCSPC looks forward to being able to undertake further investment, as demand requires, in order to serve the increasing fuel needs of the Philippines now and in the future,” Rodriguez added.
He also said the operation of the new facilities also generated additional 21 jobs in the company which now operates a 160-hectare facility here.
Rodriguez, along with PCSPC president and CEO David Attewill and PCSPC vice president for facilities management Milo Sesante, inaugurated the new facilities with SBMA Chairman Martin Diño and Ayta tribal leader Bonifacio Tolentino.
SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma, who also attended the ceremony, lauded the PCSPC for its new projects and thanked the Ambala Ayta tribe in Subic for letting the SBMA open up parts of its ancestral domain for development.
According to PCSPC officials, the Subic fuel depot is now spread out at the Boton and Maritan Hill areas and includes a marine terminal, fuel storage tank farms, and tank-truck loading facilities.
The facility was originally constructed in 1953 under the U.S. Navy with 2.4 million barrels of capacity. At its heyday during the Vietnam War, the Subic facility under the former Naval Supply Depot (NSD) was said to handle the largest volume of fuel oil of any U.S. naval facility in the world, processing about 4 million barrels of various fuels per month.
The NSD also managed the 66-kilometer pipeline that supplied fuel products to the then Clark Air Force Base, now the Clark Freeport Zone.
The Subic tank farm continued to serve the fuel needs of the two neighboring former American bases since its takeover in 1993 by Coastal Subic Bay Terminal Inc.
The PCSPC took over the lease from Coastal in April 2004 and proceeded to build additional fuel storage tanks: five above-ground diesel storage tanks at the Boton Tank Farm in May 2012, which increased total capacity to 3.4 million barrels; and seven new tanks at the Maritan Hill Tank Farm in December 2013, thus raising the capacity to 4.6 barrels of petroleum products.