Shell has become a symbol of excellence in the oil and gas industries and has always been looked upon as a trailblazer in the oil refinery business.

Such is the case in the Philippines, where Shell’s Tabangao Refinery is considered a top provider of quality oil and fuel products. This year, the refinery celebrates its 50th year of operational excellence as one of Shell's most awarded refineries.

Through the years

Shell started its refining operations in the Philippines in 1962 with only a single 30,000 bpd process train (distiller and platformer). In 1967, a second process train added to the facility boosted its capacity to 60,000 barrels per day (bpd). The subsequent revamping of the facility in 1988 contributed to better energy efficiency and raised total primary distilling capacity to around 70,000 bpd.

The growing demand for the company’s refined products in the 1990s, however, exceeded Shell Tabangao’s refining capacity. To meet the expanding fuel requirements of the Philippine market, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC) commenced construction of a 110,000 bpd refinery in 1992 in Batangas. The newly constructed and modern refinery didn't only meet the existing demand but was also designed to produce cleaner fuel products such as unleaded gasoline and low sulphur diesel.

With the application of a state-of-the-art integrated process approach in the design of the new refinery, both the company and the consumers benefitted a lot. There was a considerable improvement in product yield from crude oil and better product quality for the general public.

Celebrating 50 years

July's celebration of the 50th anniversary of Shell Tabangao Refinery was a night of pomp, glamour and nostalgia. The Tabangao start-up team, community members, staff and Shell executives, retirees, and external stakeholders, all came along to the Filipino-inspired and fiesta-like celebration.

Clad in their Filipinianas and Barongs (Filipino formal wear), the guests and staff were welcomed by a marching band and a rondalla group. General Manager Ton Wielers opened the celebration with his welcome message while Shell Manufacturing EVP Tom Botts, honoured the staff and contractors that made Tabangao one of the most awarded refineries across Shell.

For their unwavering support and dedication to the company since its first operation, Shell Tabangao Refinery’s partners and stakeholders were recognised and given plaques of recognition. Among the awardees were local government organisations (LGUs), academics, medical and dental organisations, contractors, employees and retirees associations.

People at the heart of Tabangao

Since its initial commercial operations in the 60s until today, the men and women of Shell Tabangao Refinery have been at the forefront of innovation, technology expertise, and refining and manufacturing excellence.

Thanks to their efforts, the refinery can celebrate 50 years of operations, with continuously improving process technologies and constant collaboration to deliver operational excellence, ensuring asset reliability and product quality. Here's to the next 50 years.

[Jo Diana-Diga & Ron Jabal with reports from Dawn De Guzman]