TOP optimistic on outlook for oil trading this year
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TOP optimistic on outlook for oil trading this year

Oil refinery facilities operated by Thai Oil in Chon Buri's Sri Racha district.
Oil refinery facilities operated by Thai Oil in Chon Buri's Sri Racha district.

SET-listed Thai Oil Plc (TOP), the oil refinery arm of national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc, expects a better outlook for oil trading this year, with the global demand and supply of oil believed to be almost equal.

Demand for crude oil is expected to stand at 101 million barrels per day (MBD), an increase of 1.6 MBD from 2022, while supply will be 101.3 MBD, an increase of 1.5 MBD from last year, said Nuttapol Nopparatwong, TOP's vice-president for commercial planning, citing an estimate from the US Energy Information Administration.

There would be a drop in the current surplus of oil supply as the Organisation of Petroleum Export Countries (Opec) and its allies, also known as Opec+, agreed to cut oil production.

On the demand side, crude oil demand would be driven by oil consumption, particularly from Asia.

Higher demand will correspond with additional production capacity from new oil refineries across Asia, which are scheduled to start commercial operation in the second half of this year, said Mr Nuttapol.

In the first quarter of this year, TOP recorded oil stock losses of 3.3 billion baht, a decrease from losses of 9.1 billion baht in the second half of last year.

Mr Nuttapol expects the company to have oil stock gains in the second half of this year.

In Thailand, demand this year for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which can be used as cooking gas and car fuel, is expected to decrease by 0.5% from last year as many motorists have shifted to electric vehicles, said Torsang Chaipravat, TOP's vice-president for financial planning.

Energy authorities earlier announced that the LPG price subsidy would continue, putting a cap on the LPG price at 423 baht per 15-kilogramme cylinder until the end of June.

Low-income earners would also be given 100 baht per person via state welfare cards for three months to purchase LPG at lower prices.

According to TOP, domestic consumption of gasoline and gasohol, a mix of gasoline and ethanol, is expected to increase by 6.1% from last year, following the state's policy to stimulate people's spending.

Diesel demand is also expected to increase by 1.5% from last year due to more economic activity and transportation.

Costly liquefied natural gas last year also caused power firms to use more diesel as a fuel to replace gas.

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