Oil import bill up 10%


MANILA, Philippines—A slight increase in oil prices in the world market and a decline in petroleum exports have pushed the country’s oil import bill up by 10 percent to $13.86 billion in 2012 from $12.57 billion a year before.

Data from the Department of Energy showed that the import cost of crude oil inched up by 1.23 percent to $7.43 billion from $7.34 billion a year before, while the cost of imported finished products jumped by 23 percent year on year to $6.43 billion from $5.223 billion.

In terms of volume, imports rose by 5.9 percent to 119.7 million barrels last year from 113 million barrels in 2011.

Of the total oil import volume last year, crude accounted for 54 percent at 64.94 million barrels, while finished products—such as unleaded gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)—accounted for 46 percent at 54.75 million barrels.

According to the DOE, the country’s petroleum export earnings fell by 30.9 percent to $1.23 billion in 2012 from $1.785 billion the previous year. This was due to a 32.8-percent drop in the volume of crude and petroleum products exports last year to 10.796 billion barrels from 16.07 billion barrels in 2011.

The Philippine government has been working to reduce the country’s oil imports as its heavy dependence on fuel supplies from abroad made it vulnerable to global supply and price fluctuations.

The energy department is working on the development of the country’s own fuel sources by harnessing indigenous resources and promoting the use of alternative fuels.

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