By Angelica Y. Yang Reporter

THE market share of smaller firms in the domestic petroleum industry has increased to over 50% in the six months ending June, edging out the three largest oil players, according to the Department of Energy (DoE).

Data obtained by BusinessWorld showed that 51 firms, classified as “other players” participating in the petroleum market, accounted for 52.59% of the sector in the first half of 2021.

Among the smaller players, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. cornered the biggest market share in terms of total petroleum products sold at 8.23%, followed by Unioil Petroleum Philippines, Inc. and Insular Oil Corp. at 6.94% and 5.77%, respectively.

Meanwhile, major oil companies Petron Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., and Chevron Philippines, Inc., took a combined 38.96% market share in the same period.

Of the percentage, Petron registered an 18.60% share, lower than its year-on-year level of 21.94%. Pilipinas Shell and Chevron Philippines recorded a 15.5% and 4.86% share, respectively, a decline from their previous levels.

“Based on records, bumababa ang share ng majors at tumataas ‘yung share ng mga new players. In short, mas lumalakas competition ng mga new players,” DoE Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) Director Rino E. Abad told BusinessWorld on Viber last week.

(Based on records, the share of majors is going down, and the share of new players is rising. In short, new players are getting more competitive.)

End users, which are comprised of 24 entities, accounted for 8.45% of the market.

During the first half of 2020, the petroleum market share of smaller firms beat that of major players by a small margin. Smaller players held a petroleum market share of 46.57%, while the majors hit 46.40% during this period.

Sought for comment on why competition from new oil players is increasing, Mr. Abad said he observed there are more small players that are joining the sector. This is in contrast to what was happening before when Petron, Pilipinas Shell and Chevron Philippines (formerly known as Caltex) were relatively the only ones in the market, he added.