The Energy Department on Thursday asked Filipino consumers to brace for continued increases in world oil prices and use energy more efficiently amid the tension in several oil exporting nations.
“The nation, along with the majority of the globe, is facing the realities of socio-political turmoil in oil-producing countries, which, sadly, results in fluctuations of oil prices. I cannot stress enough that, as an oil importing country, our market is susceptible to these effects, and it is up to us as a nation how we handle this challenge,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.
Oil industry sources confirmed a possible increase in oil prices next week because of the movement in the world oil market.
The agency said that recent world events again caused an increase in oil prices in the local market.
It said oil production by members of the Oil Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil producers continued to decline.
Saudi Arabia, which has one of the largest contributions to world oil supply, steadily reduced its crude oil production by 336,000 barrels a day this month, bringing the total OPEC reduction to around 1.6 million barrels a day.
Saudi Arabia is expected to have lower exports of crude oil in April, amounting to a reduction of 635,000 barrels per day.
Actions by the United States, with the imposed sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, also affected world oil prices, including the expiration of the Iran export waiver in April, which would translate into a further reduction of crude oil supply by 1.1 million barrels per day.
The department said this already resulted in recent cuts of US oil reserves, causing the overall increase in crude prices.
It said in the East Asian region, scheduled shutdowns related to the maintenance of oil processing facilities in Japan (JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy) and China (Sinopec) were expected to contribute to the further reduction of oil supply.
Cusi said consumers should continue to utilize energy efficiently and exercise their power of choice to enhance more competition at the retail level.
“The retail prices and services per retail station are different. Our consumers must compare the prices and services and choose the retail station that provides the best products and services that suit their needs,” Cusi said.
The country’s oil firms have varying oil price discounts offered to consumers. They also have different promotions and price points depending on the brand, location of the station and market competition.
“Everyone must be aware of their respective energy consumption habits and continue to observe an energy efficient lifestyle, whether we have fuel price increases or not,” Cusi said.
“The DoE will continue its oil price and fuel quality monitoring activities,” Cusi said.
The oil firms implemented a hefty oil price increase of P1.45 per liter for gasoline, P0.40 per liter for kerosene and P0.30 per liter for diesel on March 19, the sixth consecutive weekly oil price increase implemented by the oil companies to reflect the movement of world oil prices.
Price adjustments since the start of the year resulted in a net increase of P6.10 per liter for gasoline, P4.65 per liter for diesel and P3.45 per liter for kerosene.