Lebanon Businessnews News

Oil imports from US surge
Severe power cuts and suspension of
smuggling behind rise in fuel imports
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The total value of imports from the United States went up to $1.7 billion in first seven months of the year, up from $946 million in the same period last year. Mineral products represented the largest share of imports from the US. Last year, more than 50 percent of imports from the US were oil derivatives.

Total oil imports rose by 85 percent year-on-year to top $3.7 billion at the end of July. The additional imports were mostly from the US.

“The State imports gas oil and fuel oil from the United States, private companies import oil derivatives from Europe,” said Bahij Abu Hamzeh, president of the Association of Petroleum Importing Companies (APIC).

Average monthly imports of gas oil reaches 216,000 tons, out of which some 75 percent are imported by the State for energy production.

Abu Hamzeh said the increase in oil imports is the result of the suspension of illegal diesel imports: “Gas oil used to be smuggled in from Syria. Now that smuggling has stopped, more quantities are imported to make up for the shortfall.” He said that gas oil is now being smuggled from Lebanon into Syria.

The other reason for the surge in oil imports is, according to Abu Hamzeh, is the power crisis. “The severe shortage in electricity supply has increased the use of private generators, which use more fuel oil for the same output.”
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Sep 19, 2012
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