PORTUGAL’S BALLOONING oil consumption and rising crude prices means the country will pay 1,340 million euros more on imported crude oil in 2005.
The increased price of oil to 66 US dollars per barrel has added 541 million euros onto the country’s oil bill from January to May compared with the same period last year. This massive increase does not take into account price hikes in natural gas and coal, which are also predicted to push up Portugal’s energy consumption bill in 2005.
The shocking costs of over reliance on oil based products were revealed by the International Energy Agency. In its analysis of current average imported crude oil prices, five European countries (Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) paid around 13.7 US dollars more per barrel this year than they did last year. In adjustments, the least affected by the price hikes were the Spanish who paid on average 12.39 US dollars more, while the most penalised were the British with 14.15 US dollars.
Portugal annually consumes over 115 million barrels of crude, spending more than 650 million US dollars in the first five months of the year to satisfy its energy consumption.
In 2004, Portugal paid 464 billion euros (577.7 billion US dollars) on energy importation, of which 376 billion euros (468 billion US dollars) went on petrol and the rest on natural gas, coal and other energy sources.
Meanwhile, the world’s oil markets are preparing to face prices rising to 70 US dollars per barrel as oil production in the North Sea begins to dwindle and security in the Middle East continues to be an issue.