Consumers brace for higher gas prices

Published September 16, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

As gasoline prices will climb by a hefty P1.35 per liter this week; and diesel prices by P0.85 per liter, the pockets of consumers will be strained once again as they will need to shell out more for their fuel budgets.

On the same vein, the price of kerosene – which is another socially formidable commodity, will increase by P1.00 per liter, as already advised by the oil companies.

As of press time, the oil firms that already sent notices on their price hikes include Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, Cleanfuel, PetroGazz, Seaoil, Total, PTT Philippines, Chevron and Phoenix Petroleum effective 6 a.m. on Tuesday (September 17); while the rest of their industry rivals will follow suit.

And for the coming week, prices are anticipated to further rise as the production of biggest oil producer Saudi Aramco had been adversely affected by a thunderbolt strike of drone at its facilities.

Reports portend that the royal kingdom’s oil production had been cut by roughly half – and that will bring extremely bad news to markets, in terms of surge in prices and possibly supply disruption.

Relative to that development, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi on Sunday called for an ‘emergency meeting’ with his department’s attached agencies, to prepare for the inevitable in the reported cuts in Saudi’s oil production.

“We are seeking to ensure that the energy family will be sufficiently prepared to face the potential impact of this unfortunate incident, if any, on the country,” the energy department said.

The agencies and state-run firms that Cusi convened in the weekend meeting include the Department of Energy-Oil Industry Management Bureau (DOE-OIMB), National Electrification Administration, National Power Corporation, Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and its subsidiary PNOC-Exploration Corporation.

The energy department asserted that it is “closely monitoring the situation, and will keep the public properly informed of developments on the matter.” There had been no concrete assessment yet how the domestic market will be affected by the Saudi oil market’s wretched incident.

The past three weeks had been ‘rollback episodes’ for consumers, but the way forward could be series of price hikes especially with the Saturday drone incident in Saudi Arabia that will definitely batter market fundamentals.
For the Philippine market, industry players will just generally follow the moving factors in price adjustments – such as the swing of prices in the world market and the fluctuation of the US dollar against the local currency.

Another major factor on oil price trends is competitive forces – meaning, if there are players that will implement lower price hikes, then the other oil companies may just be compelled to match such increases.

On a weekly basis, it remains a guessing-game for the Filipino consumers as to what factors have been impacting on prices they have been paying for at oil pumps – absent cost benchmarks in the price adjustment announcements being done by the oil companies.