PH oil import bill up 56% to US$4.8 B

Published October 12, 2021, 4:38 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

With recovery in oil demand, the country’s total oil import bill in the first half this year significantly climbed by 55.9-percent to $4.795 billion from a leaner $3.075 billion in the same period in 2020.

In a report released by the Department of Energy (DOE), it specified that one key factor that caused the swell in the country’s aggregate import bill had been the 99-percent rise in the costs of fuel productssourced from offshore markets.

The department emphasized that the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) of oil imports surged to$4.261 billion from the year-ago level of $2.134 billion mainly because the per barrel cost of oil commodities had gone up to $67.317 per barrel on average versus $47.681 per barrel in the same six-month stretch in 2020.

Conversely, the DOE noted that the country generated earnings from its export of oil products – but that was just at a marginal $174.7 million from January to June this year; logging a downtrend of 26.9-percent from last year’s $239.0 million on a parallel period.

Given the revenue stream from exports then, the agency highlighted that the resulting net import bill had been at $4.619 billion, which increased by 62.9-percent from the prior year’s$2.336 billion.

In terms of demand, the energy department indicated that this went up by 12.6-percent in the first semester to 12.246 billion liters from 10.872 billion liters last year.

“This can be translated to an average daily requirement of 67.7 million liters vis-à-vis last year’s 59.7 million liters,” the agency stressed

The DoE explained that “the transition to less stringent travel restrictions implemented nationwide during the first half of 2021 has resulted in increased economic activity, hence, the growth in demand.”

On a per product basis, it was pointed out that demand for kerosene products had remarkably expanded by 33-percent; while for gasoline, it had grown by 23.7-percent.

The acceleration in demand for diesel products had been at moderate pace of 9.9-percent; while liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) demand hike was also considerably tame at 7.7-percent, according to the DOE.

The department further cited there had been significant uptrend of 40.9-percent in finished product imports in this year’s first half because major players Petron Corporation and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation shifted to full importation within the period.

In Petron’s case, it carried out its refinery turnaround from February to June while preparing its operations as an enterprise accredited in a special economic zone; while Shell had already decided on its refinery shutdown since August last year.

 
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