Syrian conflict could lead to higher pump prices
MANILA, Philippines - PTT Philippines warned that pump prices may continue to increase as world crude oil prices surge due to the unrest in Syria.
"Since we don't have control over these developments overseas, what we can do is to continuously monitor the situation, hoping that there would be an immediate resolution to the impasse," PTT spokesman Korawat Sungmongkol said in a statement.
On Thursday, oil prices slipped in Asian trade as investors took profits after concerns over a possible US-led military strike on Syria pushed prices to multi-month highs.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in October, fell 71 cents to $109.39 in afternoon trade after rising to its highest level since May 2011 the day before.
Brent North Sea crude for October delivery shed 83 cents to $115.78 after hitting its highest price in six months on Wednesday.
"If the prices of crude oil in international market would continue, a new round of oil price adjustment may be inevitable. However, let's just hope that the volatile situation in Syria won't escalate and spill over that may destabilize the Middle East which we know pumps one-third of the world's oil," Sungmongkol said.
PTT had increased pump prices last August 27 to reflect oil price movements in the world market.
Prices of oil in the world market have rise more than 15% in the last three months. On Wednesday, WTI advanced to $112.24, the highest since May 2011, and Brent oil climbed 0.7 percent to $115.16. There are fears the price of oil may surge to as high as US$150 per barrel if the Middle East conflict disrupts supply.
Markets are "keenly watching" developments leading up to any strike against Syria to punish the government for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
"Even though Syria is not a key oil producer, the violence in Syria could potentially disrupt other Middle Eastern oil exporters and cause the driving up of oil prices," said Lee Chen Hoay, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Sanjeev Gupta, head of Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at Ernst & Young, added: "Crude prices will be volatile till a clearer picture about the impact of any attack by Western powers on Syria emerges, and sharp spikes in prices are possible in the short term." - With a report from Agence France-Presse