As crude oil prices rise sharply this year due to the war in Ukraine, the value of Taiwan’s oil imports surged by 75.6 percent to US$11.9 billion in the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Finance said in a report on Thursday.
The import value is expected to reach from US$28 billion to NT$31 billion by the end of the year, the highest in eight years, the ministry said.
Taiwan is almost entirely dependent on imports for its oil supply, the ministry said, adding that the import volume was stable from 2012 to 2019, at above 300 million barrels a year, while the import value fluctuated with changes in international oil prices.
Photo: Hung Chen-hung, Taipei Times
Taiwan last year imported 282.88 million barrels of oil, up 6.6 percent from a year earlier, while the import value rose 59 percent to US$19.9 billion, as the reopening of major economies boosted crude oil prices, the ministry said.
That was in contrast to 2020, when the nation imported 265.26 million barrels of oil, down 18 percent from a year earlier, while the import value plunged 41.5 percent to US$12.5 billion, the lowest in 18 years, after responses to the spread of COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the global economy and severely dented oil demand and prices, the ministry said.
Oil imports this year have extended momentum from last year, as the war in Ukraine drove oil prices to more than US$100 per barrel, it said.
The nation imported 121.86 million barrels of oil in the first five months, up 10.9 percent from a year earlier, at average prices of US$97.80 per barrel, the ministry said.
Most of the nation’s oil imports came from the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia accounting for 34.5 percent and Kuwait contributing 20.1 percent in the first five months, while those from the US comprised 21.1 percent of the total during the first five months thanks to an increase in shale oil imports, it said.
Taiwan’s exports of refined petroleum products also have a high correlation with oil prices, the ministry said. In 2013, exports of such products reached US$22.9 billion, but dropped in subsequent years, with the value falling to US$5.7 billion in 2020, the lowest in 17 years, it said.
Exports of refined products last year increased 68.8 percent from a year earlier to US$9.7 billion, and increased 100.5 percent to US$6.5 billion in the first five months of this year, of which diesel exports accounted for 55 percent of the total and gasoline products comprised 20 percent, the ministry said.
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