Energy Conservation Drive Urged-As Oil Prices Hit Record Highs in Decade
The government yesterday urged the nation to participate in an intensive energy conservation drive as the prices of crude oil are reaching new highs since the Gulf War in 1990.
In an emergency meeting of energy-related ministers, Finance and Economy Minister Jin Nyum said that the government, for its part, will extend financing for investments in energy conservation facilities.
``Right now, we have to recognize that the high oil prices will continue and we are going to have to focus on conservation,'' Jin said after the meeting.
He said that the government has a few contingency plans in case oil prices increase to levels that the economy cannot cope with although much of it depends on the results of a meeting of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) members in Vienna tomorrow.
``We realize that the increase in oil prices is placing a heavy burden on inflation, economic growth, current account and international competitiveness and so we are naturally monitoring the situation very carefully,'' he said.
Basically, the government expects that OPEC will decide on an increase in the daily production of crude oil by 500,000 barrels, which will place the price at around $27-28.
``It is when crude oil prices surpass an average of $30 that we have to consider setting off our contingency plans but conservation is the most important tool for the time being,'' said one official of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy who was at the meeting.
As far as industrial companies are concerned, the government will increase the discount on taxes on energy conservation facilities from the current 5 percent to 10 percent while investing more in developing new sources of energy.
``On the part of consumers, we are encouraging them to participate more actively in campaigns initiated by autonomous bodies to reduce the number of days on which they drive,'' the official said. …