NZ fuel companies defend pumped up prices after attacks on Saudi Arabia

Fuel companies have defended the speed at which they raised petrol prices after the attacks on Saudi Arabia. 

The attack on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia may seem like a world away, but it took only two days for some of New Zealand's major fuel companies to pump up their prices. 

Global oil prices surged 20 percent after the drone attacks. Z and BP both increased their prices by six cents a litre on Tuesday, in a move discount competitor Gull has described as over the top. 

"I thought it was quick," says Gull's general manager, Dave Bodger.

Gull has vowed to hold off a price increase until at least the end of the week, labelling Z and BP's response as a knee-jerk reaction. Bodger says the markets will become more certain.

"Guesses can be wrong and generally inaccurate," he told Newshub.

In a statement, Z says that Tuesday's increase was executed at a normal speed and process based on how much fuel costs per barrel. 

BP says there are a number of influences over the cost of its fuel, including the price of refined oil.

The AA says as frustrating as the increase is, it's just how the market operates - even though only five percent of New Zealand's oil comes from Saudi Arabia. 

"The price we pay is a benchmark to the commodity price and that's the same around the world regardless of the source of oil," says AA spokesperson Mark Stockdale.

Saudi Arabia has announced the repairs on the facilities are moving quicker than expected. Energy Minister Megan Woods says that's a good sign.

"That has brought the international price of brent crude down, so I'd like to see prices at the pump follow," she told Newshub.

New Zealand retailers say the international fuel market is volatile, meaning there is no guarantee that prices will drop.