MANILA –  The Philippines may take advantage of the low crude oil prices in the world market to prepare for the future once fuel prices increase due to the resumption of economic activities, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

Cusi briefed members of the Joint Congressional Energy Commission on Friday on the initiatives to address the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on the energy sector.

“We are looking at available storage so we can stockpile. We can have a strategic supply to get it at (a) cheaper price and use it when the time comes that the prices of crude oil start to increase,” he said.

Cusi added that the Department of Energy (DOE) is coordinating with the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) and industry players to study how all stakeholders could benefit from the cheaper oil prices by doing strategic inventory.

Many enterprises, he said, are now struggling from their losses due to the lockdown measures carried out by the government to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, and stockpiling cheap crude oil could shield the country from the shock of increasing world oil prices once threats from disease ease in the future.

Global crude oil prices have gone down amid the pandemic as demands slowed down.

Data showed that West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices opened the year at USD61.17 a barrel, but uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic dragged WTI prices to its lowest at USD11.26 per barrel in April.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies (OPEC+) were able to improve crude oil prices after cutting their production by 10 million barrels a day starting this month until June.

The WTI crude is now trading at USD32.01 per barrel. (PNA)