Press Release
November 8, 2010

DOE told to be on 'heightened alert' as world crude prices soar

Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday pressed the Department of Energy (DOE) to come up with ways on how to mitigate the impact of the continued increase in crude oil prices in the world market on local pump prices.

"If the cost of crude oil hits $90 per barrel, it would certainly bring up local pump prices here. The DOE should now be on its toes and study how it can cushion the impact here," Recto, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, said.

He said an increase in oil prices locally not only burdens consumers of petroleum products in the country, but also has a domino effect on prices of basic commodities, goods and other services.

"It also affects the cost of electricity and, for companies, the cost of production. The DOE should not take this lightly," Recto said.

"This global development would surely fan the greed of oil companies which are always ready to jack up prices at every opportunity," he added.

Recto stressed the close price monitoring promised by the DOE during the budget hearings should not be limited on checking the price adjustments but should include "probing the numbers."

"The energy department has plenty of state arsenal to check and double check if the imminent price hikes are a product of transparent computation or just a result of plain old greed," the senator said, adding that it could even turn to NEDA and other government research bodies for help.

Last week, world oil prices breached the $87 mark per barrel as the dollar weakened.

Recto fears that if this trend continues, the gasoline prices here may breach P45 or even P50 a liter before the Christmas season.

"DOE should sit down with oil companies and discuss possible measures to ease the effects of this phenomenon in the world market. All oil price increase from now on should be justified," he said.

"Oil companies should also exercise transparency in all its price increases. They should be able to justify every increase, as we bear in mind how much profits they raked in for the past years."

The senator last month called on the DOE to conduct a "greed check" on oil companies as they increased prices of petroleum products at the height of typhoon Juan.

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