The fall in energy demand

Taiwan’s energy demand fell for a sixth month in December as manufacturers cut their consumption because of the global recession.

Formosa Petrochemical Corp. and CPC, Taiwan’s only refiners, utilized 62 percent of their crude distillation capacity in December compared with 71 percent in November, the bureau said. Crude-oil processing declined 22 percent from a year earlier to 3.84 million kiloliters.

Energy use fell 2.6 percent last year to the equivalent of 119.6 million kiloliters of oil, reversing the 4.4 percent gain in 2007.

Use of coal, petroleum, gas, solar energy and electricity dropped 16 percent from a year earlier to the equivalent of 8.62 million kiloliters of oil, or about 1.75 million barrels a day, the Bureau of Energy said in an e-mailed statement. Demand dropped 2.6 percent in 2008.

Taiwan’s exports including computer chips, fuels and metal products fell by an unprecedented 44.1 percent last month, a finance ministry report showed Monday. Industrial output plunged by a record 32 percent in December from a year earlier, the Economic Ministry said Jan. 23.

“The fall in energy demand reflected the economic downturn,” a planning official at the bureau, said in Taipei Tuesday. “Industries across the board cut factory utilization, driving down energy consumption.”

AU Optronics Corp., the world’s third-largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, used 50 percent of its factory capacity in the fourth quarter, lower than the 80 percent in the previous three months, the Hsinchu-based company said last month.

Consumption of petroleum products plunged 23 percent from a year earlier to the equivalent of 3.72 million kiloliters of oil in December, the bureau said.

Power consumption fell 11 percent to 16.4 billion kilowatt- hours, with demand from industrial companies 18 percent lower than a year earlier.

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