Cambodia considers legislation to regulate fuel prices

The Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy has asked officials to consider legislation to control consumer fuel prices during this time of very low crude oil prices worldwide. A team has been assigned to investigate fuel price legislation, and if deemed feasible, the legislation will be added to the draft petroleum law.

โ€œRight now, gasoline prices are essentially unregulated and I think it is a bit of a monopoly as gas stations are free to set prices at whatever they want,โ€ said Meng Saktheara, secretary of state at the ministry. Saktheara says that no details of the ministryโ€™s proposed legislation are currently available.

Crude oil currently costs USD46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, compared with more than USD100 last July.

Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol has requested Sokimex, Tela, PTT, Caltex, Bright Victory Mekong Petroleum, Total and Tavimex to reduce pump prices to KHR3,900 (USD0.95) per litre. According to a statement from the Commerce Ministry, there has been some cooperation from Sokimex and Tela who have decided to reduce the price of regular gasoline from KHR4,000 (USD0.97) to KHR3,900 per litre while PTT will reduce its price to 4,050 (USD0.97) per litre effective 21 Jan. 2015.โ€ Additionally, data published by the Commerce Ministry show that Caltex and Total have reduced their fuel prices to KHR4,100 (USD0.99) per litre and KHR4,050 (USD0.98) per litre respectively since 13 Jan.

Ken Ratha, a spokesman for the Commerce Ministry, said that the ministry is drafting a competition law, โ€œwhich intends to regulate and ensure fair and honest competition and also encourage more competition in the country.โ€ It involves pricing controls and outlines fiscal terms such as taxation and royalties for upstream oil and gas firms operating within the Kingdom. Ratha says that it will help fuel prices adjust more naturally to market forces.

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