Manila, April 17, 2003 -- The country's biggest oil companies, Petron 
Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Caltex Philippines, Inc., and new 
TotalFinaElf brought down the prices of their unleaded gasoline by P0.30 
per liter; while diesel and kerosene prices were reduced by P0.20 per 
liter. The rollback was effective at midnight last night.

Shell General Manager for External Affairs Roberto S. Kanapi said 
"international prices for both crude oil and finished petroleum products 
have soften recently."

He added, "Although part of the crude oils and finished products in our 
current inventory were acquired at the higher costs prevailing in the 
previous months, inclusive of freight and war premiums, we will always aim 
to be price competitive."

He said the price cuts being implemented are aimed at advancing the 
benefits of the downtrend in international prices as a result of the 
successful resolution of the US-Iraqi war.

The rollback in pump prices as the Department of Energy (DoE) said that 
domestic pump prices may plunge in the coming days.

According to Petron public affairs manager Virginia Ruivivar, this rollback 
could be the first of the projected series of price reductions that may be 
implemented to reflect the softening of oil prices in the world market.

Among the new oil firms in the country, French firm TotalFinaElf was the 
first to announce cuts in its prices which matched the reduction 
implemented by the industry's dominant players.

"To protect its market share, Total will match the price decrease to remain 
competitive despite buying our current fuel inventory at high prices," said 
Rona Quejada, TotalFinaElf corporate communications manager.

The average Dubai crude costs has plunged to $23.34 per barrel from the 
March average of $27.37 per barrel, down 14.72 percent. But this was prior 
to the April 24 emergency meeting being called by the Organization of 
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which plans to reduce production 
quotas so it can maintain prices at $25-$28 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the Philippine peso strengthened against the US dollar in the 
last few weeks, as speculation halted after the war erupted.

 From April 1 to April 14, the peso's value against the US dollar gained by 
as much as 3.0-percent -- P52.93 from the March average of P54.54.(Bulletin)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved