Oil import bill up 27%
MANILA, Philippines–Higher oil prices in the global market pushed up the country’s oil import bill by 27 percent to $9.43 billion in the first nine months of 2011 from $7.41 billion a year ago.
This was despite an 8.7-percent drop in the volume of crude oil and finished petroleum products imported in the first three quarters of last year to 84.36 million barrels, from 92.39 million barrels a year ago, according to data from the Department of Energy.
Documents from the DOE showed that of the 84.36 million barrels imported, crude accounted for 60.6 percent or 51.16 million barrels. Other finished petroleum products accounted for the remaining 39.36 percent or 33.2 million barrels.
The country’s fuel export receipt surged by 66 percent to $1.396 billion in the first nine months of 2011 from $841.2 million a year ago, with volume rising by 22 percent to 12.62 million barrels. This brought net oil imports to $8.037 billion in the first nine months of last year, up by 22 percent from $6.57 billion a year ago.
The Aquino administration is targeting to reduce the volume of oil imports to lessen the country’s vulnerability to the volatility of oil prices in the world market.
With this goal, the Department of Energy recently launched the 2011 bidding rounds for petroleum and coal, where contracts for exploration and development of pre-identified prospective blocks are offered to investors.
The Philippine Energy Contracting Round 4 is envisioned to address the Philippines’ energy supply requirements through the exploration of local indigenous resources. Harnessing local resources is expected to help the country meet its daily demand and reduce the importation of petroleum products.
During the launch of the PECR on June 30, the government offered 15 blocks for potential development. These are located in Cagayan, Central Luzon, Northwest Palawan, Mindoro-Cuyo, East Palawan, Cotabato and the Sulu Sea.
According to the DOE, resources from nine out of these 15 areas were estimated to hold as much as 5.48 billion barrels of oil and 39 trillion cubic feet of gas.
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