DOE drafting bill establishing strategic fuel reserve

MANILA — The Department of Energy (DOE) is drafting a bill establishing a strategic petroleum reserve to cushion the impact of the rising oil prices on consumers and ensure supply security.

DOE Assistant Secretary Leonido “Bodie” Pulido III said the department will soon be introducing the bill to Congress but did not give further details.

“We are preparing a bill that we intend to introduce to Congress where we will ask for the legislation of a strategic petroleum reserve,” Pulido said in an economic briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday.

Pulido allayed fears anew that drone attacks on government-run oil facilities in Saudi Arabia last Sept. 14 would affect the supply in the Philippines but admitted that there would be some effects on the prices.

“Wala naman pong (There is no) crisis sa atin (here) as far as supply is concerned. We will not be affected insofar as supply is concerned, we will be affected in terms of price,” Pulido said.

The DOE official said the Philippine supply will not be affected because it has a “diversified” source of oil.

“If you look at the oil statistics on the slide, only about 12.5 percent of crude oil comes from Saudi Arabia. It’s true that around 70 percent comes from the Middle East but specifically from Saudi Arabia. We only take about 12.5 percent of crude oil. In terms of finished liquid petroleum products po mga 5 percent lang po ‘yan (It’s only 5 percent). So hindi po ganun kalaki yung impact sa’tin in terms of supply (So it’s not that big of an impact in terms of supply),” Pulido said.

To date, he said the DOE has met with oil companies to assure the public that there is sufficient supply of oil products and coordinated with concerned agencies to create an Oil Contingency Task Force to implement measures vis-à-vis the impact of supply issues.

DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi has also directed the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) to begin importing cheaper diesel, he added.

Pulido said the DOE has sent a show-cause order to various oil companies requiring them to explain price movements in liquid petroleum products such as diesel and gasoline.

The DOE said the rollback implemented for diesel and gasoline should have been bigger than what the firms announced.

“When we compared this with yung (our) computation namin kung magkano po dapat yung pagbaba, mas mababa po yung rollback nila (on how much the decrease should be, their rollback is lower),” Pulido said.

Earlier, Petron announced price rollbacks at PHP1.45 per liter for gasoline, PHP0.60 for diesel, and PHP1 for kerosene.

Petro Gazz said it will slash gasoline price by PHP1.55 per liter and diesel by PHP0.50 per liter.

PTT Philippines said the price of its gasoline will be reduced by PHP1.45 per liter and diesel by PHP0.60 per liter. Azer Parrocha/PNA-