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Demand for Oil in the Philippines Increases
« on: August 22, 2009, 04:38:30 PM »
Despite the global financial crisis, demand for oil in the country increased in the first five months of 2009.

Citing data from the Department of Energy, leading oil refiner Petron Corp. said oil consumption from January to May 2009 inched by 0.4 percent to 290,700 barrels per day from 289,600 barrels per day for the same period last year.

According to Petron "the current low prices of fuel encouraged increased spending of fuel products."

Prices of oil in the world market plunged in the last quarter of 2008 and up to the first quarter of 2009 as a result of economic slowdown.

In a statement to the local bourse, Petron noted that oil prices recovered in the first half of this year by as much as 30 percent.

Likewise, Dubai crude prices stabilized and are being sold at US$ 59.3 per barrel during the second quarter, much higher than the first quarter average of US$ 44.31 per barrel, bringing the 1st half average at US$ 51.93 per barrel.

On June Dubai crude averaged at US$ 70 per barrel, Petron said that while this is still significantly lower than the high prices in the first half last year, this is a remarkable recovery of more than 30 percent since the start of the year.

The “optimism that the economy has bottomed already with some month-on-month improvements in economic indices supported the rally in oil prices in the second quarter,” Petron said.

At the same time, the company said competition remains stiff with the new players implementing different marketing strategies and aggressively expanding.

Moreover, Petron admitted that independent oil players are even leading in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry controlling 50 percent market share.

Earlier, Petron has decided to shift its strategies to manage the competition by venturing into the construction of 200 micro-filling stations all over the country.

Petron recorded a net profit of P1.8 billion in the first half of 2009.

But Ramon S. Ang, Petron chairman and CEO, said this marks the continuation of the company’s recovery from its P3.9 billion net loss last year.

“Despite lower sales volumes and a difficult business environment, we were able to sustain our recovery,” Mr. Ang said.

“We are confident that we can continue to improve on our performance over the next few months with the initiatives we have introduced. These initiatives are aimed at giving Petron new revenue streams while enhancing its leadership position in the industry,” Ang added.

Petron’s 180,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery produces a full range of petroleum products to supply around 40 percent of the country’s total fuel requirements. It currently has a network of more than 1,300 service stations nationwide.

The company also plans to construct a second Petro Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit that will enable the full conversion of residual products to more valuable gasoline, diesel, LPG and propylene.

Petron needs US$ 1 billion over a five-year period for PetroFCC2 project. - pna

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