The effects of the current pandemic are far and wide. In addition to tourism and exports, one of the other industries materially affected by COVID-19 is the fuel industry. According to the Department of Energy Business, there has been a 13% decline in fuel usage in the period between January and October.
The main reason for this decline is the reduction in air and land traffic as a result of the pandemic, not only in Thailand, but also in many other countries around the globe.
This is the highest decline in fuel usage Thailand has suffered since the Asian financial crisis in 1998, when it fell by 0.4%.
Last year, the DOEB said, the Kingdom consumed 157 million liters per day from January to October 2019. This year, however, the Kingdom consumed only 137 million liters per day. This is a drop of 20 million liters per day or 13%.
Because of the ban on domestic and international air travel imposed by the emergency decree in April, consumption of jet fuel fell by 59.4% compared to the same period in 2019. Jet fuel consumption is only at 7.8 million liters per day in 2020, while in 2019, the country consumed 19.3 million liters per day.
Other types of fuel also suffered a decline in usage.
For instance, diesel usage is at 64.6 million liters per day from January to October 2020. In the same period last year, the Kingdom consumed 67.1 million liters per day. This is a 3.6% decline year-on-year.
Compressed natural gas consumption also fell from 5,500 tonnes to 3,800 tonnes, while demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) went down from 17.9 million liters per day to 15.3 million liters per day. These represent a drop of 29.5% and 14.6%, respectively.
Gasoline/gasohol, kerosene and fuel oil also suffered small declines in consumption as well. These types of fuel saw a drop in usage of 2.4%, 12%, and 15.5%, respectively.
Gasoline/gasohol usage fell from 32.1 million liters per day to 31.3 million liters per day, while kerosene usage is at 0.018 million liters per day from 0.02 million liters per day. For fuel oil, consumption is at 4.7 million liters per day from 5.5 million liters per day.
Because of the worldwide decline in fuel usage, fuel imports also suffered a decline. LPG, crude and refined oil imports cumulatively fell by 8%. From a 863 kilo barrels per day in January to October 2019, fuel imports are now at 963 kilo barrels per day.
Interestingly, refined oil exports increased by 12.9% to 187 kilo barrels per day.
Before the pandemic, the DOEB actually forecasted oil consumption to go up by 3% at the end of this year. Because of the pandemic, however, Director-general Nanthika Thangsupanich said that oil consumption will follow the movements of the country’s gross domestic exports.
Thailand’s GDP is set to contract by 7% at the end of this year, according to the Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee. This is an upgraded prediction from the initial 8.1% seen by the BoT.