Fri, Jul 21, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Natural gas price hike gets the go-ahead

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

A committee under the Ministry of Economic Affairs approved Chinese Petroleum Corp's (CPC, 中油) proposal to hike the price of natural gas by 15 percent.

The new rates will go into effect after final approval from the ministry and the Cabinet, the committee said in a statement after discussing the issue in a meeting yesterday.

"The committee suggested that the ministry rectify the price to reflect soaring costs," the statement said.

State-run CPC is the only natural gas supplier in Taiwan, where over 90 percent of natural gas is imported from abroad. The company last increased natural gas prices on Aug. 3 last year.

The average cost of natural gas imported by CPC during the first half of the year was NT$11.85 per cubic meter, which was higher than the average retail price of NT$10.33 per cubic meter, causing CPC to lose NT$8.7 billion in the natural gas sector during the same period, the ministry said in the statement.

The price hike is expected to increase revenue by NT$7.3 billion, but its natural gas division will still lose over NT$10 billion for the year, according to the statement.

The committee estimated that the 15 percent price hike, or NT$1.6 per cubic meter, will push the wholesale price index up by 0.03 of a percentage point and the consumer price index (CPI) by 0.08.

The CPI was at 1.73 percent last month, and after the natural gas price hike, the CPI would reach 1.81 for the year.

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