DOE mulls oil reserve; to require oil firms to unbundle prices

MANILA -- The Department of Energy (DOE) said Saturday it is planning to establish an oil reserve in the country, and will also require oil firms to unbundle or itemize petroleum product prices.

Among the areas being considered for the oil reserve storage are Subic, Phividec Complex, and Quezon.

Earlier, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi instructed the Philippine National Oil Company - Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) to look at products from non-OPEC members and sell these products to independent petroleum dealers and public utility transport groups.

The move aims to protect consumers from the rising oil prices in the international market. For two consecutive weeks, pump prices had a more than one-peso-per-liter increase.

Sourcing products from non-OPEC members also aims to enhance competition among industry players, Cusi said.

So far, the DOE is looking at Russia and other countries as alternative oil sources. It said the PNOC-EC is expecting to get the first shipment this month.

Local oil firms are required to maintain a stock good for 30 days for crude and products for refiners, 15 days for importers or bulk suppliers, and seven days for LPG sellers.

Meanwhile, the DOE is consulting with different stakeholders in developing a policy for unbundling petroleum product prices.

In a previous interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), DOE spokesperson Felix William Fuentebella explained that unbundling the product prices will ensure that consumers get the right quality of oil products, and give them advice, such as where they can get good quality products and where they can get more affordable ones.

Fuentebella said the DOE will check the unbundling of the base prices of petroleum products, from the port up to the retailing.

This is something that the DOE has not done before the Duterte administration, he noted.

The DOE will also check the quality of shipped petroleum products for the protection of the oil companies.

What we're doing is also for the protection of the industry, because we are going to check the quality of petroleum products, Fuentebella said.

Once the policy on the unbundling of petroleum products prices is issued, he said, the DOE will require oil firms to provide a weekly notice of the pump price adjustments alongside with the computation of their products' components, based on the elements involved in the international price movement, the biofuels cost, and the capital or operational cost recovery. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency