October 15, 2003
(Government Services and Lands)


The following is being distributed at the request of the Petroleum Products Pricing Commission:

An active few weeks on the world market for oil and associated petroleum products have resulted in mixed pressures on fuel prices.

Numerous factors have been driving prices, with OPEC�s (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) decision to cut crude oil production in November having the biggest impact. Concerns about future supplies have surfaced, and prices have risen by as much as 18 per cent since the announcement was made last month.

Also affecting the market in recent weeks has been the threat of a strike in Nigeria over high fuel prices � which has since been averted (the world�s seventh largest oil exporter and the fifth largest source of imports for the US), as well as the tightening of home heating fuel supplies despite attempts to rebuild low inventories for the upcoming winter.

Conversely, gasoline prices have eased since demand for the product has declined and sufficient supplies are maintained. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Petroleum Products Pricing Commission (PPPC) has decreased gasoline prices by 7.3 cents per litre (cpl) since September 15, and the province is about to experience another drop.

Effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, October 15, the maximum prices for all types of gasoline will move downward by 0.3 or 0.4 cpl (depending on the HST rounding effect in a particular pricing zone). Home heating prices will increase by 2.64 cpl and diesel by 3.2 cpl.

Residential propane used for home heating purposes will see a 0.9 cpl decrease.

PPPC Commissioner George Saunders said the past 30 days saw two periods of early interruption in Newfoundland and Labrador�s fuel prices because of extreme market fluctuations.

The seasonal demands for specific petroleum products are shifting, and movement in their pricing is to be expected at this time.

"Gasoline prices have slowly shifted downward, and now that we are heading for the home heating season, we have to expect that prices are going to reflect this on the world market," said Mr. Saunders. "Home heating supplies are still at a lower-than-normal level and temperatures are starting to drop. This has had a direct impact on pricing, and the upcoming winter will determine where prices for these products are going."

1. Automotive Fuels - Maximum Retail Pump Prices - Effective October 15, 2003;
2. Heating Fuels - Residential Propane - Maximum Tank Wagon Prices - Effective October 15, 2003:
3. Heating Fuels - Maximum Tank Wagon (or ** Tank Farm) Prices - Effective October 15, 2003;

Media contact: Michelle Hicks, Communications. Tel: (866) 489-8800, (709) 489-8837. Cell: (709) 486-4789.

2003 10 15                                      8:50 a.m.

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