Oil firms not keen on proposal to use coco-methyl ester in diesel
() - March 18, 2004 - 12:00am
The Philippine Institute of Petroleum (PIP) has urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to seriously reconsider the proposal requesting oil companies to sell bottled coconut methyl ester (CME) in retail stations.

At the same time, PIP urged the DOE to closely examine the long-term implications of using CME as a diesel blend.

The energy department is currently drafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to Memorandum Circular 55, which requires government agencies to incorporate the use of one percent CME by volume in their automotive diesel requirements.

The draft IRR provides, among others, for the DOE to "request" the oil companies to offer bottled CME at retail stations and further requires the DOE to study the feasibility of expanding the CME program.

In a statement, PIP executive director Rey Marquez said the government has yet to set standards on the safe handling of the product and its packaging. "Since CME emits an unpleasant pungent odor, faulty packaging can lead to customer discomfort and contaminate commodities inside confined, air-conditioned spaces like the convenience stores of retail outlets."

Selling CME at the station level may also impair contract obligations between the oil companies and their respective dealers, he added.

Furthermore, he said such a ‘request’ raises the question of government’s commitment to a fully deregulated industry. The sale of CME as an additive in the stations or its expanded use, should therefore be subject to consumer choice, Marquez said. – Donnabelle Gatdula

CME COMPANIES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY DOE DONNABELLE GATDULA GOVERNMENT MARQUEZ MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR PHILIPPINE INSTITUTE OF PETROLEUM REY MARQUEZ
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