Pandemic dampens fuel consumption

Pandemic dampens fuel consumption

An attendant fills a customer's tank at a Bangchak petrol station.
An attendant fills a customer's tank at a Bangchak petrol station.

The Covid-19 outbreak caused fuel consumption in Thailand to decline by 4.4% during the first eight months of 2021 to a daily average of 131 million litres, down from a daily average of 137 million litres during the corresponding period last year, says the Department of Energy Business.

Demand in the country for the major fuel types, including diesel, petrol, jet fuel and compressed natural gas, all fell. However, demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) increased.

Chief of the department, Nantika Thangsuphanich, said the strict control of road and air travel during the second and third quarters caused the decline in demand.

Jet fuel consumption continued to experience the biggest decline, plunging 47.2% to an average of 4.55 million litres a day, down from 8.6 million litres during the same period last year, she said.

Demand for compressed natural gas dropped by 18.6% to a daily average of 3,140 tonnes compared with a daily average of 3,800 tonnes during the corresponding period last year.

Petrol consumption decreased by 7.3% to a daily average of 28.5 million litres from 30.7 million litres during the same period last year.

In this category, demand for unleaded petrol decreased by 15.8% to a daily average of 0.67 million litres while consumption of gasohol, a mix of petrol and ethyl alcohol, declined by 7% to a daily average of 27.8 million litres, said Ms Nantika.

Diesel consumption went down by 4.9% to a daily average of 61.9 million litres.

"The decline in fuel consumption began after the Covid-19 outbreak flared up in April, months after the second outbreak in December last year," said Ms Nantika.

People were alerted to the virus spread and told to work from home. A night-time curfew was also imposed.

From January to August, LPG consumption grew by 9.8% to a daily average of 16,500 tonnes, up from 15,000 tonnes during the corresponding period last year, according to the department.

Consumption of compressed natural gas decreased by 18.2% to a daily average of 3,140 tonnes, down from 3,800 tonnes during the same period last year.

Imports of crude oil and refined oil edge 0.1% lower to 904.83 kilo barrels per day (KBD), said Ms Nantika.

Thailand imported 868,161KBD of crude oil, a decrease of 0.1%. A rapid rise of crude oil prices in the global market caused the import value to increase by up to 42.1% to 57.7 billion baht a month, up from 40.64 billion baht during the corresponding period last year.

Imports of refined oil rose by 21.8% to 37,431 barrels per day (BPD), with the value rising by 57% to 2.24 billion baht based on a monthly average.

Meanwhile, exports of refined oil declined by 1.9% to 193.85BPD, but its value increased by 49% to 13.09 billion baht based on a monthly average.

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