DOE pushes review of oil deregulation

Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) is pushing for the review of the oil deregulation law to ensure transparency in oil prices.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the amendment of the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998 was presented during a Cabinet meeting last week.

“We discussed that in the Cabinet and proposed to review the oil deregulation law because we need to have more transparency and really know how we price it,” he said.

“I believe that the Cabinet is with us because it is the interest of the people that is at stake,” Cusi said.

The DOE presented to the Cabinet the response of the oil companies following the show cause orders issued by the agency on 13 oil companies and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) suppliers to explain their recent price rollback.

In line with the agency’s mandate to protect consumer welfare and ensure fair oil industry practice, the SCOs were issued since there was an apparent difference in the oil price rollback calculations between the DOE and oil firms.

A week after the drone attacks in Saudi oil facilities last month, oil companies rolled back gasoline prices by P1.45 to P1.55 per liter, diesel by P0.50 to P0.60 per liter, and kerosene by P1.00 per liter on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, LPG prices increased by P3.98 to P4.50 per kilogram at the start of the month.

However, the price adjustments on gasoline were P0.14 to P0.24 per liter, lower than the DOE’s computation diesel P0.06 to P0.16 per liter difference.

On LPG, price hikes were higher by P0.18 to P0.22 per liter on household LPG and by P0.11 per liter on auto LPG.

Oil companies cited the oil deregulation law as basis for non-disclosure of their computation, DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said.

“Initial reaction is carbon copy of responses in the cases pending before the courts,” he said, referring to the cases filed against the DOE’s oil unbundling policy.

“The OIMB will discuss with the legal team the impact of these responses to SCOs on the unbundling case or if do we really have to push for amendments to the oil deregulation law,” Fuentebella said.

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