Philippines orders oil firms to boost inventories

MANILA, March 7, 2011 (AFP) - The Philippine government on Monday ordered oil firms to ramp up imports and stocks amid growing concern about potential supply disruption due to unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

The energy ministry said in a statement it had ordered oil companies to step up imports and maintain a minimum inventory sufficient for 15 days.

"The Philippines needs to be resilient in light of these events," Energy Minister Jose Rene Almendras said in the statement.

He said the oil-poor country's main concern was supply security.

Ministry spokesman Joel Gaviola said the government had not previously imposed a minimum inventory requirement.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates account for nearly 81 percent of the Philippines' crude oil imports, with Asian countries supplying 12 percent and Russia 7.0 percent.

Most of the nation's refined petroleum product imports however come from Singapore, while its liquefied petroleum gas supplies come from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE.

The energy ministry puts the country's daily fuel consumption at about 300,000 barrels or 48 million litres.

Inflation surged to 4.3 percent last month, its highest level in nearly a year, from 3.6 percent in January, as bloody protests spread from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya and beyond.

Other news