Fuel consumption in Laos is expected to rise to more than 800 million litres this year, despite spiraling oil prices on the global market.
Motorists can expect to pay more at the pump as petrol prices rise.
“Consumption is expected to increase by about 7 percent this year, on top of last year's consumption total of around 750 million litres,” Mr Khamchanh Rattanavong, an official from the Lao Petroleum and Gas Association said yesterday.
Total fuel consumption exceeded 640 million litres in 2009 and increased to more than 700 million litres in 2010, according to a report compiled by the association last year.
Fuel consumption in Laos rises by about 7 to 10 percent each year. Some 45 to 50 percent of the fuel imported is used in Vientiane and Vientiane province.
The Brunei Times reported on February 10 that global oil demand will rise more slowly than expected this year, hit by the euro-zone debt crisis and high retail prices. In a monthly report, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2012 by 120,000 barrels per day to a total of 940,000.
Worries about the US economy, along with the EU debt problem, are adding more uncertainty to world oil markets over the next 12 months. Firming retail petroleum prices are expected to have a negative impact on oil demand across the globe.
In Vientiane, petrol stations are now selling premium petrol for 12,230 kip per litre, regular petrol for 11,000 kip per litre, and diesel for 9,910 kip per litre.
Meanwhile in the provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet, Champassak, Bokeo and Xieng Khuang, premium petrol now costs 12,250 to 12,380 kip per litre, regular petrol 11,030 to 11,260 kip per litre, and diesel 9,960 to 10,150 kip per litre.
The price of petrol rose by 20 to 210 kip per litre in Vientiane, and 10 and 220 kip per litre in the five provinces, according to a report from the Industry and Commerce Ministry last week.
Fuel prices fluctuate in Laos depending on shifts in the global market.
There have been four price adjustments this year, all of which have been upward. There were 17 fuel price adjustments in Laos last year. That followed 14 adjustments in 2010 and 15 adjustments in 2009.
“Even though the oil price keeps rising, fuel prices must stay below 12,000 kip per litre in Laos because of government subsidies,” Mr Khamchanh, who is also a senior official at the Lao State Fuel Company, said yesterday.
Singapore AP reported yesterday that oil prices hovered below US$107 a barrel in Asia, rising from US$105 a barrel last week. In April last year, oil prices were about US$95 a barrel in Asia.
Mr Khamchanh said the price of oil was about US$93 per barrel at the end of January last year, rising from US$89 per barrel at the end of 2010 and US$78 per barrel in January, 2010. However it reached more than US$140 per barrel back in mid 2008.