By Myrna M. Velasco
With bellwether Dubai crude breaching US$62 per barrel last week, prices at Philippine oil pumps will be jacked up again this week by P0.90 per liter for gasoline; while a leaner P0.55 per liter will be enforced for diesel products.
Kerosene, which is typically intended for domestic use as well as a base for jet fuels, also went up by P0.85 per liter this week.
As of this writing, the oil firms that already increased pump prices include Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, PTT Philippines, Total, Unioil, Seaoil, Jetti and Eastern Petroleum effective 6:00am on Tuesday (February 12) which is their routine adjustment timeframe. The rest of the industry players are anticipated to follow.
The oil industry players initially anticipated price hikes of more than P1.00 per liter for gasoline; but Dubai crude softened to the level of US$61 per barrel on Friday (February 7); hence, the slight downward adjustment compared to preliminary expected price hikes this week.
Beyond Dubai crude cost’s rise, last week was generally an upswing in global oil prices – even with Brent crude rising by more than US$62 per barrel; while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) which is the cost reference for the US market, hovered at close to US$53 per barrel.
Industry experts have been noting that several geopolitical factors were exerting pressures on international prices –including the trade clash between the United States and China.
In addition, the US is contemplating imposition of sanctions on Venezuelan oil – and its tumultuous political situation could then further cut the latter’s oil export volumes.