More oil companies hike prices

Posted on September 10, 2011

FOLLOWING THE lead of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., two other members of the so-called "Big Three" increased pump prices on Friday.

Chevron Philippines, Inc. hiked its gasoline prices by P0.70 per liter, and diesel and kerosene by 0.25/liter. The firm had already increased its prices on Tuesday but followed Shell’s lead to adjust prices twice this week.

Petron Corp., which did not join the price hikes earlier in the week, increased its gasoline prices by P1.60/liter. Diesel and kerosene prices went up by P0.95/liter.

The firm said it increased its prices "to match moves of our competitors who adjusted prices beginning Tuesday."

Shell announced earlier this week that it was looking into implementing oil price adjustments twice a week to improve transparency. It also increased its prices again on Thursday.

The Energy department is looking into the plan of oil companies to adjust their prices twice a week.

"We will study that. It’s their prerogative however but we will be looking into it," said Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras in an interview with reporters on Thursday.

Due to the Oil Deregulation Law, the government can only monitor the pricing of oil companies. However, a joint task force of the Energy department and the Department of Justice can file cases against oil companies found to over-price their products.

Gasoline prices have increased by P8.55/liter since January while diesel prices have risen by P7.25/liter.

The price of Dubai crude is around $108 per barrel compared to last month’s average of $104 per barrel. Dubai crude is the price benchmark used by the country’s oil industry.

The Energy department earlier said international prices "are no longer behaving simultaneously."

Mean of Platts Singapore, the benchmark for finished products, is at $128 per barrel for gasoline and $126 per barrel for diesel.

Data from the Energy department placed the average price of unleaded gasoline at P56.45/liter. The average price of diesel is P44/liter. -- Emilia Narni J. David