Gov’t warns oil firms of charges for unreasonable price adjustments

rising oil prices

The government has threatened oil companies of charges due to alleged unreasonable adjustments of oil prices in the last few weeks, after the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido III said the Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a show-cause order to firms to explain the differences in their price changes.

“As far as price is concerned, the government cannot dictate what the prices are. However, the Oil Deregulation Law, that’s point out that a task force called the DOE–DOJ (Department of Justice) Task Force, has the authority to investigate anti-competitive practices,” Pulido was quoted in a Manila Bulletin report.

“If we believe that either the rollback or the increase – rollback for liquid petroleum products and the increase in LPG – is unreasonable then we will refer it po to the DoE–DoJ Task Force to study the possibility of filing either administrative or criminal cases against these companies,” he added.

Pulido claimed that the price decrease applied to diesel and gasoline should have been more than what the oil companies implemented.

Gasoline prices should have been decreased by an additional P0.22 per liter, while diesel cost should have been reduced by P0.06 per liter.

Oil companies implemented price rollbacks of P1.45 per liter for gasoline, P0.60 for diesel, and P1 for kerosene.

“We were just surprised because historically, our computations would match and that’s the reason that prompted us really to ask them to explain because it’s the first that all of these companies’ computations did not match with ours,” he said.

“We want them to explain it, hindi naman po namin sinasabi na mali sila [we’re not saying they are wrong] but we want to give them the opportunity to explain to us bakit po ganoon [why],” he added.

Pulido said the energy department expects oil firms to submit their explanations within the next three days.