BUSINESS

Industry calm over fuel hikes

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

TAGS: Energy, Economy

The ministries of Energy and Development appear ready to tackle any incidents of profiteering in the fuel trade due to the global rise of rates, while market professionals also sought to downplay concerns about the consequences of geopolitical developments in the Middle East.

At a meeting on Tuesday in the Energy Ministry under Deputy Gerasimos Thomas, representatives of oil refineries, fuel trading companies and gas station owners argued that there is little cause of concern as the impact on prices is not expected to top 0.03 to 0.05 euros per liter by Friday.

Thomas also said that there are no supply issues as reserves are sufficient and Greek oil refineries are flexible.

The parties discussed issues stemming from the steep rise in global oil prices, with refinery representatives (from Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil) saying that any shortages in the market from the partial stop in Saudi production will be covered by stock quantities. They added that Brent rates will be contained, as was indeed the case late on Tuesday.

Refinery representatives assured the Energy Ministry that no problems are anticipated in the supply of the Greek market with oil, with Hellenic Petroleum reporting they loaded quantities of crude from Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Fuel traders’ representative Yiannis Aligizakis assured the government that the situation with fuel prices in the domestic market is fully manageable, adding that any panic over high prices for heating oil as of October 15, when trading starts, will only fuel profiteering.

According to Aligizakis, the impact of rising fuel prices started becoming apparent at gas stations on Tuesday. Some stations passed the 0.01 euros per liter increase onto retail rates, while others absorbed it. However, no instances of profiteering were reported, he claimed, adding that by Friday the hike in rates will not exceed 0.05 euros per liter.

From the gas stations’ side, Michalis Kiousis said it will be difficult to contain the rate below 1.60 euros/liter, although station owners would be hesitant to go above that threshold, fearing of its effect on consumer psychology.

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