Shell to review options after SC ruling on Pandacan depot transfer
The High Court denies the oil firm’s motion for reconsideration, but Shell says it will observe the law as it reviews its options
FINAL. The Supreme Court rules with finality that multinational oil companies move out of Pandacan after it declares unconstitutional an ordinance that prolonged their stay along the banks of Pasig River. File Photo by EPA

MANILA, Philippines – Pilipinas Shell will seek all legal remedies available after the Supreme Court (SC) denied its motion for reconsideration over the transfer of the Pandacan oil depot.

“We shall study the implications of the Supreme Court decision and shall review the options available to Shell. Rest assured that Shell will observe the rule of law,” a company statement read Wednesday, March 11.

The High Court denied the motions filed by Pilipinas Shell and Chevron Philippines on Tuesday, March 10, upholding its November 2014 decision that the oil firms must relocate and cease their operations in the populated Pandacan, Manila district.

The oil firms, including Petron, were given 6 months to relocate based on their submitted and updated comprehensive plan and relocation schedule.

Shell filed a motion for reconsideration also in November before the SC, saying that their own pool of experts is willing to attest that the Pandacan oil depot is safe.

Denied motion

The SC denied Shell’s motion because the reasons given by the oil firm had already been decided and there is no need to rule upon them anew. The SC also stressed it would no longer entertain any pleadings or they will be cited for contempt.

In its November 2014 decision, the SC has given the oil companies 6 months to remove their Pandacan oil terminals after submission of an updated comprehensive plan and relocation schedule. It also gave the oil firms 45 days to submit the relocation plan.

Chevron, meanwhile, said it filed a motion for clarification and not a motion for reconsideration.

“We have yet to receive a copy of the decision hence cannot fully comment on the matter. Finally, we will comply with the final ruling of the Supreme Court on this issue,” Chevron said.

Chevron has already moved out of Pandacan.

No place in populated areas

Petron Corporation did not comment but previously said the company has been preparing to move out of the contested depot since 2010, following its commitment to cease operations in the depot by 2016.

“We made a commitment to stop our operations and we are ready. We have identified several alternative sites in Luzon to absorb our volumes in Pandacan,” Petron President Ramon Ang earlier said.

The SC pointed out that there are overwhelming reasons stated in its previous decision to support its pronouncement that given their nature, depots have no place in a densely populated area.

It cited the history of the Pandacan terminals, where flames spread over the entire city of Manila when fuel-storage dumps were set on fire in December 1942, and another incident involving an explosion – both of which were discussed in an earlier challenge to the oil depots.

The SC added that its decision is clear and that it was City Ordinance 8187 that had been declared unconstitutional and invalid as far as the continued stay of the Pandacan oil terminals is concerned. –