(STAR) By Donnabelle L. Gatdula - Industrialist and consumer advocate Raul T. Concepcion said yesterday he expects more oil price rollbacks in the coming weeks.

In a press statement, Concepcion, chairman of the Consumer Oil and Price Watch (COPW), said "all will be spared from the debilitating effect of the continuous oil price increases."

"This is a welcome relief to all consumers as we can begin to expect weekly rollback in oil prices. This means that there is no need for a transport fare hike," he said.

Concepcion based his optimism on the recent decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna to continue producing oil at current levels even though demand is slowing and inventories are building up due to sharp rise in prices which peaked at $77.03 per barrel.

The COPW chief also expressed optimism that OPECís current output quota of 28 millions barrel a day will remain, and that the oil cartel will not intervene and reduce its output until prices drop to $50 to $55 per barrel.

"More oil is being produced from non- OPEC members, namely Russia and the Soviet republics around the Caspian Sea and African producers like Angola. Iraq will double its production capacity from the present 2.5 million barrels per day to 4.5 million," he said.

Concepcion noted that a major thrust by OPEC and non- OPEC countries like the Philippines is to produce alternative sources of energy other than oil-based petroleum products.

He said the COPW also shares the vision of government leaders and Congress that the country must be 85 percent self-sufficient by year 2010 by using indigenous alternative sources of energy such as geothermal, hydro, windpower, coal, liquefied gas, biodiesel and bioethanol, thus reducing the countryís dependency on oil-based petroleum products.

Oil companies have been reducing their pump prices for the past two consecutive weeks due to softening world crude prices.

As of Sept. 4, 2006, Dubai crude, the benchmark used by local oil refiners in pricing their products, averaged $64.45 per barrel as against Augustís $68.93 per barrel and Julyís average of $69.17.

The softening of Dubai crude came after three consecutive months of continuing rise from Juneís average of $65.22 and Mayís $65.

Unleaded gasoline price based on Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS), the pricing gauge of oil importers, also dropped to $69.15 per barrel from Augustís $81.61; Julyās $85.50; $82.76 in June; and Mayís $86.80.

Diesel in MOPS averaged $84.79 per barrel as of Sept. 7, lower than $87.42 in August; $87.37 in July; and $87.57 in June.

For the month of September, the international contact price of LPG averaged $560.90 per metric ton, higher than $547 in August; $502 in July and $470 in June.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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