Next week jolt: Gas P2.30/liter

Local oil companies are poised to hike diesel prices by P1.60 to P1.80 and gasoline prices from P2.10 to P2.30 next week in the wake of the attacks on the Saudi Arabian oil fields, industry sources told consumer group Laban Konsyumer Inc.

In a message to reporters, LKI president lawyer Vic Dimagiba also said Dubai crude had increased by over half a dollar to $62.93 per barrel, up from Thursday’s price of $62.32.

Last Tuesday, pump prices had already jumped by over a peso. Caltex, Shell, Petro Gazz, Phoenix Petroleum, and Clean Fuel raised gasoline prices by P1.35 per liter and diesel by P0.85 per liter.

Without next week’s raises, the price adjustment last Sept. 17 raised the year-to-date net increases to P5.51 per liter for gasoline, P4.02 for diesel, and P2.01 for kerosene.

In Washington, the United States wants a peaceful solution to the crisis sparked by the attacks on Saudi oil installations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday after Iran raised the specter of an “all-out war.”

Pompeo has blamed Iran for the dramatic weekend assault on two facilities, condemning an “act of war” which knocked out half the kingdom’s oil production.

The rhetoric has raised the risk of an unpredictable escalation in a tinderbox region where Saudi Arabia and ran are locked in a decades-old struggle for dominance.

At the House of Representatives, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda called on oil companies not to exploit the attacks on Saudi Arabia just to increase oil prices in the country, saying the firms should justify any oil price increase.

“I think they have to prove to the public that they bought oil at those prices. They are taking advantage of this predisposition toward panic,” Salceda said.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian wants to look into the Department of Energy’s plans to ensure adequate oil supply in the Philippines following the attack on Saudi Arabian Oil Company’s key facilities last week. 

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, filed Senate Resolution No. 139 for the committee to conduct an inquiry on the DOE’s short-, medium-, and long-term plans. This is necessary, he said, to achieve energy security and to mitigate the adverse repercussions of supply shocks on the country’s oil supply and prices following the Aramco attack by suspected Iranian-backed rebels.

“The DOE, as the primary agency in charge of planning and implementation of comprehensive programs for the supply of energy, needs to inform the Filipino public about the effects of the Saudi Aramco attack on oil supply and prices in the Philippines,” Gatchalian said.

The Committee on Energy hearing is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 23, at 9 a.m.

Damage to Saudi Aramco oil installations ignited fears of supply disruption around the world and has sent crude prices soaring by double digits. Saudi Arabia is the top Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producer of crude oil.

After meeting with allies in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, Pompeo said there was an “enormous consensus in the region” that Iran carried out the attacks, despite its denials and Yemeni rebels’ claims that they were responsible.

But Pompeo said the US was intent on finding a way out of the confrontation.

“We’d like a peaceful resolution. I think we’ve demonstrated that,” he told reporters.

“I hope the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it the same way.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier warned any US or Saudi military strike on Iran could lead to an “all-out war.”

“We don’t want war,” he told CNN in an interview aired Thursday, “but we won’t blink to defend our territory.”

Saudi foreign affairs minister Adel al-Jubeir warned on Twitter that complacency towards Iran will encourage it to “commit more acts of terrorism and sabotage in our region.”

Saudi officials on Wednesday unveiled what they said were fragments of 25 drones and cruise missiles fired Saturday at the oil facilities in the country’s east, engulfing them in flames.

“The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” defense ministry spokesman Turki al-Maliki said, although he refused to be drawn on whether Saudi officials believed Iran directly carried out the operation.

Tehran-linked Huthi rebels in Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbor Yemen have claimed responsibility, but both Washington and Riyadh have said the operation was beyond the Yemeni insurgents’ capabilities.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said the Huthi claim “lacks credibility.”

The Huthis have, however, previously hit dozens of targets in Saudi Arabia, and their rapidly advancing arsenal has exposed the kingdom’s vulnerability despite its vast military spending.

The rebel group said Saturday’s assault was launched from three locations inside Yemen, using advanced drones with long-range capabilities.

They also threatened the United Arab Emirates―a key member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Shiite rebels―with strikes against “towers made of glass that cannot withstand one drone,” in an apparent reference to the glitzy cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

In its first known strike since the oil attacks, the coalition said Thursday night it had launched a military operation against the Yemeni rebels, destroying four sites north of the port city of Hodeida. 

Topics: Laban Konsyumer Inc. , Vic Dimagiba , Mike Pompeo , oil price
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