Byline: MYRNA M. VELASCO
The public finally got a relief yesterday with a rollback of R0.25 per liter in the pump prices of gasoline, but the prices of more socially sensitive products like diesel and kerosene rose by R0.30 per liter.
The first oil firms to announce the price adjustments were Flying V, SeaOil, Eastern Petroleum, and fsrom the big leagues Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.
Caltex Philippines, Inc., followed the lead of Shell, bringing down its gasoline price by R0.25 per liter but increased the prices of diesel and kerosene by R0.30 per liter.
Petron Corp. said its management has not made any decision yet.
"The continued downtrend in global oil prices this month prompted us to roll back our gasoline price by R0.25 per liter effective 12:01 p.m. on Saturday," SeaOil said in its advisory.
Eastern Petroleum said it was prompted to follow the lead of its rivals in the industry, and is implementing its price adjustments effective 12:01 a.m. today.
Despite this, however, the domestic oil firms cannot still make certain when exactly can softening of prices be expected on a more stable trend.
They noted that one aspect that should be watched closely for now is the continuing uptrend in diesel prices, which could give a harder hit on end-users because diesel fuel is more widely used in public transport system in the country, particularly jeepneys and buses.
It is, however, hoped that prices will finally ease upon the implementation in November this year of the increase in production quota by 1.0 million barrels, as earlier decided by the member-countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Price swings are still being observed in the international oil market, but crude prices have been trailing downward intermittently in the past days from a high of $49 per barrel last month to around $47 per barrel in the past days.
If there would be further softening, the oil companies assured that the consumers would certainly be getting a reprieve from the series of price hikes in the past months.
OPEC earlier indicated the uphill climb in oil prices is triggered by the $10 to $15 premium imposed on prices due to some geopolitical factors, such as constant threat of terrorism, disruption in production of some oil-exporting countries and the higher demand of briskly growing economies like China.
Energy Secretary Vincent Perez yesterday announced a rollback in the price of gasoline is expected this week, but the cost of widely used diesel would remain high and is likely to get up as it has become the most in demand oil product in the world market today. …