Shell, Caltex raise petrol prices as oil slides, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Shell, Caltex raise petrol prices as oil slides

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Two out of five oil majors here have maintained petrol pump price rises initiated more than a week ago despite sliding oil and wholesale prices.

Caltex and Shell - the first to raise pump prices here of late - have posted petrol prices which are up to five cents higher than for similar fuels sold by Esso, Sinopec and SPC. The latter three have kept prices steady for about a month now.

According to pump price tracker Fuel Kaki - an initiative by the Consumers Association of Singapore - a litre of 92-octane petrol is now $2.75 at Caltex, and $2.70 at Esso and SPC. Shell and Sinopec do not offer this fuel, which can be used by the majority of cars here.

A litre of the popular 95-octane petrol is now $2.80 at Caltex and Shell, $2.75 at Esso and Sinopec, and $2.74 at SPC.

The 98-octane fuel, which is necessary for a small percentage of cars in Singapore, is retailing at $3.30 at Shell and $3.22 at Esso, Sinopec and SPC; and the so-called premium grade of 98-octane petrol is $3.47 at Caltex, $3.52 at Shell, and $3.35 at Sinopec.

Meanwhile, diesel prices have made a rare and sizeable correction after overtaking 92-octane petrol prices half a year ago. A litre of diesel is now $2.61 at Sinopec and $2.62 elsewhere - seven cents lower than they were a month ago.

As at 3pm on Monday, the benchmark Brent crude oil was trading at US$82.63, down from US$86.66 a month earlier. The wholesale price of Reformulated Gasoline was trading at US$2.35 a gallon, down from US$2.59 a month ago.

Industry watchers are unsure how the reopening of the Chinese economy will affect energy prices. While China is seen to be a major energy consumer, it is also a major energy exporter. According to a recent S&P Global report, the Chinese government has raised the export quota for its first batch of refined oil products for 2023 by 46 per cent.

That pump prices are rising on the back of steady or falling oil prices is not unique to Singapore. According to Barron’s, pump prices in the US have been rising in recent weeks. The financial news provider cited lower refining capacity as one main reason for this.

But ExxonMobil, one of the largest energy groups in the world, in a letter responding to US President Joe Biden’s recent criticism, said that it had been raising refining capacity even during the downturn - by around 250,000 barrels per day, or “the equivalent of adding a new medium-sized refinery”.

President Biden had singled out ExxonMobil for its all-time record earnings of US$56 billion in 2022. “Exxon made more money than God this year,” he was quoted by CNBC as saying.

After discounts, the cheapest petrols in Singapore are still retailed by China’s Sinopec. Its 95-octane is $2.16 a litre (with OCBC cards), followed by a distant $2.26 at Esso (with DBS Esso card).