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The Oil Fuel Fund may end up with 100 billion baht in deficit as it continues subsidising oil and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) amid soaring global oil prices.
“The fund is currently 91.08 billion baht in deficit, with 54.57 billion baht shortfall in the oil account from a 10.34 baht per litre subsidy in diesel and 36.51 billion baht shortage in the LPG account from subsidising gas at 13.86 baht per kilogram,” an Energy Ministry source said on Sunday.
“However, the oil prices continue soaring worldwide, with West Texas crude hitting US$115 per barrel, Brent crude $118 per barrel and benzene and diesel hitting $157 and $172 per barrel, respectively. This will soon push the Oil Fuel Fund’s deficit up to 100 billion baht.”
The Energy Ministry estimates that the fund is spending 5.42 billion baht per week on subsidising up to 75 million litres daily and 600 million baht per week on LPG subsidies.
Sanctions on oil from Russia, OPEC Plus’s inability to boost its production and Libya’s drop in output due to political crises are all contributing to the boost in global oil prices. Analysts believe that if the situation persists, the global demand for oil in the second half of the year will exceed the supply by 1.5 million barrels daily.
An Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) committee meeting last week, chaired by Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, approved a gradual increase of LPG prices at the refinery level to 19.98 baht per kilogram from July 1 to September 30. This will result in a 0.9346 baht per kilogram increase monthly.
The committee, however, rejected moves to revoke subsidies on LPG to alleviate the burden on the Oil Fuel Fund, as such a move will push the retail price of LPG up by 207.7 baht per 15kg canister, which will affect the public severely.
“There is, however, a possibility that EPPO will agree to increase the price cap on diesel to 38 baht from 35 baht per litre from July onward to help boost the Oil Fuel Fund’s liquidity,” the source added. “The ministry is also planning to negotiate with refineries to reduce their refining fee by 2 baht per litre.”
The source added that such measures are necessary to ensure the fund does not fall too deep in deficit.
“If these measures are not put in place, then when the global prices fall, the price of fuel in Thailand will not drop as we will need to continue contributing to the fund to settle debts,” the source said.
Published : June 20, 2022
By : THE NATION