Sat, Feb 11, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan's energy requirements slow

By Yu-huay Sun  /  BLOOMBERG

Taiwan's energy use last year increased at the slowest pace in over 20 years of government records as manufacturers including Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠) moved production lines abroad, damping growth in electricity demand.

Energy consumption increased 3.1 percent to the equivalent of 108.1 million kiloliters of oil (1.9 million barrels a day).

small gain

That's the smallest gain since records started in 1984, Wei Juen-shen (韋潤生), a planning official at the Bureau of Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

Taiwanese textile, plastics and shoe makers are building factories in China, attracted by lower land and labor costs, and capping the nation's demand for electricity. Nan Ya Plastics, the world's biggest processor of plastics for pipes and imitation leather, has about 30 plants in China.

"Energy consumption growth has slowed because many traditional manufacturers have moved out," Wei said in a phone interview yesterday.

In December, energy use increased 2.7 percent from a year earlier to the equivalent of 8.82 million kiloliters of oil, slower than the 6.2 percent increase in November, according to an energy bureau report.

Taiwan consumed 16.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in December, 2.5 percent more than the same month a year earlier, after demand climbed 9.8 percent in November, the bureau said.

Electricity consumption increased 3.9 percent in 2005 to 214.2 billion kilowatt-hours.

energy imports

Taiwan spent 34 percent more last year on energy imports, the bureau said. The nation relied on overseas purchases for 98 percent of its energy needs.

Crude oil imports increased 3.8 percent to 60.6 million kiloliters last year and liquefied natural gas purchases rose 4.2 percent to 9.37 billion cubic meters. Coal imports declined 0.6 percent to 60.3 million metric tonnes.

In December, crude oil imports increased 16 percent from a year earlier to 5.92 million kiloliters, the bureau said.

Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), Taiwan's only oil refiners, processed 5.23 million kiloliters of crude oil in December, 4.2 percent more than a year earlier, according to the bureau.

Coal imports fell 5.3 percent to 4.62 million metric tonnes in December, while LNG imports plunged 38 percent to 636 million cubic meters, according to the bureau.

LNG, which accounts for about 95 percent of Taiwan's natural gas needs, is gas that has been cooled for transportation by ship. Import terminals return the LNG to gas form so it can be sent through pipelines to factories, power stations and households.

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