Oil firms impose hefty price cut

Oil companies imposed a hefty price rollback on Saturday, days after the government announced that it will import 240 million liters of diesel from Russia.

Petron, Pilipinas Shell, PTT Philippines, Seaoil, and Total reduced the prices of diesel and gasoline by 90 centavos per liter and P1.20 per liter, respectively, at 6 a.m.

Petron, Pilipinas Shell, and Seaoil also cut the cost of kerosene by P1 per liter.

Phoenix Petroleum on Friday lowered the price of diesel by P1 per liter and gasoline by P1.40 per liter.

The price adjustment came as a surprise because oil companies usually increase or lower their pump prices on Tuesdays.

The price rollback was announced as global oil prices retreated on Friday. Reports said Brent closed at $76.79 a barrel, down 77 cents. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $65.81 per barrel, down $1.23.

Last week, Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said the plans to import 240 million liters of diesel from Russia to ease rising prices.

“The figure is too small. What we are saying is [the importation]will be for stockpiling, as a support to the minimum inventory requirement, so [it is]more of energy security,” Fuentebella told reports.

He said importing fuel from Russia would push oil companies to lower the prices of diesel.

“The rippling effect is, the most important one, to enhance competition,” Fuentebella said.

Oil companies are required to maintain a minimum inventory requirement (MlR) of in-country stocks equivalent to 30 days of crude and products for refiners, 15 days of products for importers/bulk suppliers and seven days of liquefied petroleum gas stocks for LPG players.

“We are looking at other countries. Russia is just an option. PNOC-EC expects to receive the first shipment by end of June,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said, referring to the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation.

The Department of Energy said the decision to buy fuel from Russia was meant to “enhance competition among existing oil industry players and stabilize domestic oil prices.”

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