By Chino S. Leyco
Nearly a third of the country’s petroleum products comes from illicit operations, a recognized global expert on energy security claimed, highlighting the need for the Philippine government to implement the long-delayed fuel marking scheme.
A statement released by the Department of Finance quoted, Ian Ralby, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, as saying that “as much as 30 percent of the fuel here in this country” comes from illegal sources.
Ralby said oil smuggling has contributed to revenue leakages and has been used to fund criminal operations in fact it is the second biggest source of criminal funding after illegal drugs trafficking. Ralby, however, noted that there is no available official data on the actual government revenue losses due to oil smuggling. But, he said, illicit fuel has become a major financial concern globally, like in the European Union, where estimates showed that the bloc lost nearly four billion euros in tax revenues from oil smuggling in 2012 alone.
Also in Mexico, some $1.2 billion from oil smuggling is believed to have found its way to criminal operations.
He said the situation is even much worse in Algeria, where fuel shortages have been experienced as a result of the rampant cross-border smuggling of oil from that country to Morocco.
Citing statistics from the Algerian energy ministry, Ralby said oil smuggling has been costing the nation some $2 billion in financial losses annually given that some 1.5 billion liters of its government-subsidized fuel are being illegally exported out of the country to Morocco.