Oil firms accused of price fixing

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    A consumer group has accused 15 oil companies of price fixing.

    Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) filed with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) a complaint against Chevron Philippines, Inc.; Petron Corp.; PTT Philippines Corp.; Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.; Total Philippines Corp.; Seaoil Philippines Inc.; Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc.; Unioil Petroleum Philippines, Inc.; Jetti Petroleum Inc.; Eastern Petroleum Corp.; City Oil Philippines Inc.; Filpride Energy Corp. Clean Fuels Philippines; TWA, Inc.; and Petro Gazz Ventures Corp.

    The said filing submitted by the group’s president, Vic Dimagiba has issued complaints
    “I am filing a complaint against the respondents oil companies which operate petroleum service stations and sell petroleum products of price fixing, collusion and cartel in violation of law by entering into an agreement substantially preventing and restricting competition in the retail of petroleum products,” said Vic Dimagiba, LKI president in his complaint submitted to the anti-trust body.

    Dimagiba asked PCC to stop the continuing commission by the oil companies of price fixing, collusion and cartel behavior and for it to file the appropriate cases for violation of the Competition Act and the Oil Deregulation Law, both administrative and criminal. He also accused the Department of Energy (DOE) of allowing the oil companies in adopting and continuing the implementation of a pricing formula that restricts and prevent competition in the retail of petroleum products.

    In his filing, Dimagiba told PCC to impose punitive fines as specified by laws and to order the DOE to stop the implementation of the pricing formula, and henceforth to strictly implement the requirements of fair and reasonable prices as mandated by the Oil Deregulation Law.

    Dimagiba said actions of the oil companies are prohibited under several sections of the Philippine Competition Act and the Oil Deregulation Law.

    “… the respondents, by preponderance of evidence, enter into an agreement substantially preventing and restricting competition and continuously commit price fixing, collusion and cartel. …The respondents oil companies have individually sent weekly notices to the Department of Energy of the adjusted prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene, with the same amount and effectivity, and implemented on the same date,” he said.

    Dimagiba said the current pricing mechanism of the oil companies only include the free-on-board price of the product based on the weekly average of the Mean of Platt’s Singapore and freight charges but do not include the impact in the retail pricing of the 30 days and 15 days inventory of products of oil refiners.