The country’s imports of crude oil in the first half of the year dropped by 27.6 percent as demand for petroleum products slumped by 22.8 percent amid the new coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic .
Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) showed crude imports reached 3.4 billion liters from 4.7 5 billion liters in the same period in 2019 due to reduced economic activity brought about by the lockdown and travel restrictions.
Sixty percent of crude came from the Middle East of which 41.9 percent came from Saudi Arabia at 1.44 billion liters, making it the country’s top supplier of crude oil.
Total crude oil and finished product inventory for the period was slightly lower by 0.88 percent at 2.73 billion liters equivalent to 61.2 days compared to 2019’s 2.75 billion liters.
The government mandates a minimum inventory requirement for refiners of a combination of 30 days supply of crude oil and finished products while bulk oil suppliers and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) importers without refining capacity are required to maintain 15 days supply of finished products and seven days supply of LPG.
Demand for fuel products in the first half of the year declined by 22.8 percent to 10.79 billion liters from 2019’s 13.98 billion liters, translating to an average daily requirement of 59.3 million liters from last year’s 77.2 million liters.
Among all specified type of fuel products, jet aviation fuel suffered the biggest drop at 54.1 percent to 462 million liters from 1 billion liters.
Diesel dropped by 45.8 percent to 2.1 billion liters from 3.92 billion liters; gasoline by 21.6 percent to 1.38 billion liters from 1.76 billion liters; and kerosene by 49.5 percent to 10 million liters from 19 million liters.
Petron still leads the local market with a share of 24.88 percent followed by Shell, 18.25 percent and Phoenix Petroleum, 6.86 percent.