By Myrna M. Velasco
Demand for petroleum products in the Philippines has been on the rise, expanding by 4.5 percent in the first half of the year while imports surged by 19.5 percent on declining production by local oil refiners, data from the Department of Energy (DOE) showed.
Based on the DOE data, demand for petroleum products reached 87.790 million barrels in the first half this year versus 83.977 million barrels in the same period last year.
Data from the DOE showed that such can be translated to an average daily requirement of 485,000 barrels as against last year’s 464,000 barrels.
The growth was due to a heftier 9.5 percent growth in gasoline demand; and 5.2 percent growth in diesel. Demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) had grown by a slower pace of 2.8 percent.
Demand for aviation turbo fuel, which is used by airlines, expanded marginally by 1.8 percent; while that of fuel oil had dropped by 2.0 percent.
On product demand mix, diesel remained to be the preferred fuel of most Filipino motorists with it cornering a sizeable share of 42.3 percent; while gasoline cornered a share of 24.5 percent.
Demand for LPG cooking surged 11.5 percent while kerosene and avturbo grew 10 percent.
In terms of imports, the country’s petroleum product importation surged by 19.5 percent in the first half this year to 57.497 million barrels from the year-ago level of 48.129 million barrels. The surge in importation was mainly due to decreased production volume of local oil refiners.
According to the energy department, the top imported product for the period was diesel oil – with it increasing by 30.3 percent to 24.253 million barrels from the previous year’s 18.609 million barrels.
Gasoline imports had also been higher by 19.6 percent to 11.182 million barrels from 9.353 million barrels; while LPG had also been up by 17.9 percent to 8.221 million barrels from 6.972 million barrels.
Meanwhile, the country’s importation of crude oil had been substantially reduced by 30.2 percent due to Petron’s emergency and scheduled maintenance refinery shutdown.
The energy department emphasized that majority of the crude oil imports were from the Middle East – mainly from United Arab Emirates (UAE) which essentially replaced Saudi Arabia as top supplier of crude products to the Philippines.