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Taiwan’s Energy Demand Falls After Plant Closures

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s energy demand fell for the first time in more than a year after the island’s biggest petrochemical maker shut plants for routine maintenance and unscheduled repairs.

Combined consumption of coal, petroleum, gas, thermal energy and electricity declined 0.1 percent in October from a year earlier to the equivalent of 10.1 million kiloliters of oil, or about 2 million barrels a day, according to an e-mailed report from the Bureau of Energy in Taipei today. Demand last dropped in August last year.

Formosa Petrochemical Corp., Taiwan’s biggest petrochemical maker, shut its second-largest ethylene plant on Oct. 5 for scheduled repairs. The company also halted a residual fuel processing plant and its smallest ethylene unit after fires in July. The chemical is a raw material for plastics and fabrics.

Consumption of petroleum products dropped 3.7 percent to the equivalent of 4.11 million kiloliters of oil in October, according to the energy bureau.

Power consumption rose 2.3 percent to 20.9 billion kilowatt-hours, the energy bureau said. Industrial and energy companies accounted for 49 percent of the demand.

Crude Distillation

The combined utilization rate at crude oil distillation units operated by Formosa Petrochemical and CPC Corp., Taiwan’s two refiners, climbed to 66 percent from 59 percent in September, the energy bureau said. The units separate crude into oil products and form the main part of a refinery.

Coal imports in the month rose 8.9 percent from a year earlier to 5.5 million metric tons and liquefied natural gas shipments declined 19 percent to 977 million cubic meters, or 740,000 tons, the energy bureau report showed.

LNG is natural gas that’s been chilled to liquid form, reducing it to one-six-hundredth of its original volume for transportation by ship to destinations not connected by pipeline. On arrival, it’s turned back into gas for distribution to power plants, factories and households.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yu-huay Sun in Taipei at ysun7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net

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