By Myrna M. Velasco
The country’s oil import bill has risen by a substantial 31.8 percent to $13.477 billion in 2018 from the 2017 level of $10.228 billion on the exponential rise in world oil prices for nine months last year.
As noted by the Department of Energy (DOE), the escalation of charges in offshore sourcing had been due to “the combined effects of higher import cost and increased import volume of crude.”
Conversely, the energy department indicated that the total import cost had been offset a bit because the country also had its oil exports last year, which fetched US$1.361 billion, logging an increase of 40 percent from US$972.5 million in 2017.
As a result, the final figure on the country’s net import bill had been tempered to US$12.116 billion – with a cushioned increase of just 30.9 percent from the year-ago level of US$9.256 billion.
Of the aggregate oil import, the bulk at 54.5 percent had been finished products by the country’s independent players; while the balance of 45.5 percent for crude oil had been on the account of the refiners – Petron Corporation and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation.
According to a DOE report, crude oil imports amounted to US$6.138 billion – glaringly up by 41.8 percent from the previous year’s US$4.330 billion, “due to higher CIF (cost, insurance and freight) price of crude oil per barrel.”
The average dollar rate reference employed in calculating last year’s import bill for petroleum had been at average $52.670 vis-à-vis the local currency. The greenback’s value had been up versus 2017 level at $50.834.
Volume-wise, total imports had just been at a very marginal expansion of 0.2 percent to 97.573 million barrels from the previous year’s 97.415 MMB.
“The top imported product for the period was diesel oil, which dropped by 3.3 percent from last year’s level,” the energy department has highlighted.
It has been further emphasized that fuel oil imports had slackened by 24.2 percent; while gasoline imports climbed by 10.7 percent compared to procurements in 2017. For export products, volume had been higher by 16.7 percent to 17.043 million barrels versus 14.6 million barrels from the previous comparative year.
Condensate has been logged as the country’s top export product and that jumped by 9.8 percent; while gasoline had also been higher by more than 2.0 percent. Rounding up product exports last year had been naphtha, fuel oil, pygas, mixed xylene, diesel oil and asphalts.