Wednesday 20 June 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji –
Petroleum products and their prices continue to be a major challenge to the socio-economic development of Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs). Recognising the need to enhance understanding of the Pacific petroleum industry and the mechanics of the various factors that influence the prices of petroleum products, SPC, in collaboration with Platts, the World Bank and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) is conducting a week-long (18–22 June) regional workshop in Suva on petroleum pricing.
More than 40 participants, including representatives from petroleum companies, power utilities, PICT governments (energy officials) and petroleum pricing authorities, are attending the workshop.
In his opening speech, John Hogan, Director of SPC’s Economic Development Division, said, ‘The truth of the matter is that, while millions of dollars have been, are currently being, and will continue to be spent on renewable energy and energy efficiency, about 95% of the commercial energy needs of PICTs are met from petroleum, or fossil fuels.
‘While we continue to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, villagers are queuing up daily to get their kerosene from village stores and every single minute a vehicle pulls up at a gas station somewhere in the Pacific Islands for a refill. In Fiji, for example, about two million Fijian dollars are spent daily on fuel imports.’
Since 2010, the Energy Programme of SPC has been assisting member countries to review their petroleum pricing templates and pricing practices. This exercise has resulted in savings of millions of dollars. More importantly, it has identified the need to immediately provide support to member countries to better appreciate the petroleum industry and all the drivers and mechanics that influence the prices of petroleum products.
‘We cannot put all our efforts into renewable energy and ignore the fact that we should address petroleum pricing issues as a matter of urgency,’ says Mr Hogan. ‘We need to appreciate that effective, enabling policies are necessary for the transformation of the energy sector and it is worth aiming to invest fossil fuel savings in reducing the risks in fossil fuel supply, and in renewable energy and energy efficiency.’
SPC’s work in petroleum involves working closely with Platts, a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies that is the lead publisher of petroleum pricing data in the Asia-Pacific region. PICTs rely on Platts for an independent source of petroleum market data, which is used in verification of price submissions from the oil companies.
For more information, contact Solomone Fifita, Deputy Director (Energy), Economic Development Division, Suva, Fiji (Tel.: 3379413; email:
) or Avnita Goundar, Information Officer, Economic Development Division, SPC, Suva, Fiji (Tel.: +679 337 9281; email:
(Photo caption: A bus refuelling in Suva — about 95% of the commercial energy needs of PICTs are met from petroleum)