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Hefty fuel price cuts; transport group bucks lower fare

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
Hefty fuel price cuts; transport group bucks lower fare
An attendant pumps gas at a gasoline station in Manila City on November 11, 2023.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) is optimistic of a sustained decline in prices of petroleum products this year, barring another production cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and worsening of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“There is a good chance that it will continue to go down, but we cannot say it absolutely,” DOE-Oil Industry Management Bureau director Rino Abad said in a television interview yesterday.

Abad said the price of Dubai crude went as high as $93 per barrel during the third week of October, but has now declined to $80 to $81 per barrel.

“There really has been a huge drop. Before the production cut of Saudi and Russia last April, Dubai crude oil was at $77 to $78 only. So the current price of $80 to $81 per barrel is very near that level already,” he said.

“It seems the situation is currently good in terms of supply, demand and price. Hopefully there will be no changes with the OPEC-plus and there will be no actual
 disruption in the Middle East so we can continue with the good price up to the end of the year,” the DOE official said.

At present, Abad said demand is weakening and supply is improving, with the Middle East conflict not affecting supply.

As a result of these positive developments, local oil firms are slashing pump prices today, which includes hefty reductions for diesel and kerosene.

In separate advisories yesterday, oil companies said prices would go down by P3 per liter for diesel, P2.30 for kerosene and P0.70 per liter for gasoline.

The price rollbacks, which reflect movement in the international oil market, will take effect at 6 a.m. today for most companies, except for Caltex and Cleanfuel which started implementing the price movements at 12:01 a.m.

This is the third successive week of downward adjustment for the prices of diesel and kerosene, and a second consecutive week for gasoline.

The DOE attributed the price reductions to “demand destruction worries with falling demand of US and China’s weak exports.”

Last week, pump prices were cut by P1.10 per liter for diesel, P1.05 per liter for kerosene and P0.45 per liter for gasoline.

These resulted in a year-to-date net increase of P13.75 per liter for gasoline, P9.35 per liter for diesel and P3.99 per liter for kerosene, based on DOE data.

From Nov. 7 to Nov. 9, DOE monitoring showed that prevailing retail prices of diesel and diesel plus products in Metro Manila ranged from P57.40 to P69.70 per liter, and from P62.85 to P82.85 per liter, respectively.

Gasoline prices, meanwhile, ranged from P57.25 to P86.40 per liter, depending on the RON or research octane number of the fuel.

As for kerosene, prices monitored during the period ranged from P74 to P87.14 per liter.

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