Motorists must brace for another round of increases in pump prices this week, which would make it the ninth straight round of oil price hikes, Unioil Petroleum Philippines said Saturday, citing its projections.
In its fuel price forecast for the October 26 to November 1 trading week, Unioil said the price per liter of gasoline may increase by P1.10 to P1.20. Diesel prices may also go up by P0.40 to P0.50 per liter, it said.
Fuel firms usually announce price adjustments every Monday, to be implemented on the following day’s morning.
Year-to-date adjustments stand at a total net increase of P19.65 per liter for gasoline, P18.00 per liter for diesel, and P15.49 per liter for kerosene.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy (DOE) was urged Saturday to take more decisive measures, including establishing its long-planned national oil reserve, to ensure the adequate supply of fuel in the domestic market.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte cited the country’s absence of an oil stockpile to offset the impact on petroleum prices in the global market of low crude oil production among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Plus (OPEC+).
“The DOE needs to do more than just appeal to oil companies to make sure that we have enough supply of oil. Had the DOE accelerated its plan to establish an oil reserve, we wouldn’t have this problem now, which is currently driving up fuel prices in the domestic market,” Villafuerte said.
Almost two years ago, he called on the DOE to push through with its plan to set up its own oil stockpile in the face of the volatile supply and prices of petroleum products.
Last June, he reiterated his call after observing that the vaccine-driven economic recovery in the United States and Europe had started to ease travel restrictions and increase demand for fuel.
Oil companies separately announced they will implement another round of petroleum price adjustments, citing the insufficient supply of crude oil versus swelling demand in the world market.
According to reports, the OPEC+ had rejected the requests of the US, India, China, and the European countries to provide additional supply over and above the 400,000 barrels per day to its combined output that the organization earlier committed.
Worsening the current situation is the sharp drop in refinery production by 67 percent year-on-year to 1,284 million liters (ML) in the first half after Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. had shut down its oil refining operations.
Under Executive Order (EO)134 series of 2022 and DOE Circular 2003-01-001, oil companies and bulk suppliers are required to maintain a sufficient minimum inventory of petroleum.