The Minister of Industry, Energy and Mines, Naila Al-Qanji, reported that the production of crude oil and natural gas has decreased significantly during the past ten years, and the total number of wells has decreased from 38 to 7 wells.
During the conclusion of the sectoral training symposium of the General University of Petroleum and Chemicals, held in Hammamet, and devoted this year to deliberating negotiation techniques and the fuel support system, she added that a gradual decline in the national production of hydrocarbons has been recorded as a result of the decline in research activity and the lack of new discoveries, with an upward trend of production recorded since The year 2020 is due to the entry into production of the Nawara and Halag Al Manzil fields.
This led, according to El-Kenji, to a deepening of the primary energy deficit, which amounted to 48 percent in 2021 compared to 10 percent in 2010, noting the repercussions of dependence on the supply of energy materials on the Tunisian economy in light of the fluctuations in energy prices at the international level.
The value of fuel subsidies within the 2022 Finance Law is estimated at 5.1 billion dinars, which was drawn by adopting the hypothesis of the price of a barrel of oil in the range of 75 dollars, while today it ranges between 110 and 120 dollars, which requires an increase in the size of the budget allocated to the support. She pointed out that the $1 increase in the price of a barrel leads to an increase in support expenditures by 137 million dinars.
She said that the rise in fuel prices, especially crude oil, necessitated an amendment to natural gas prices, especially that the middle and low-income groups were taken into account, given that the price increase does not include 85 percent of the total beneficiaries of the services of the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company.
She indicated that the recent amendments, which included fuel prices, were programmed within the framework of the Finance Law for the year 2022, with an increase of 3 percent on a monthly basis, adding that there is no intention to raise the subsidy, but rather work will be done to rationalize the support and direct it more towards those who deserve it.
She highlighted that the level of support represents 58 percent of development expenditures, 13 percent of the state’s own resources, and 3.7 percent of the gross domestic product. She explained that electricity, gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and gasoil account for the largest part of the support grant.
She mentioned that the consumption of LPG bottles is estimated at 45.2 million bottles in 2021, about 89 percent destined for the housing sector, especially since the price has not been modified since 2010, which explains its use in other sectors.
And she indicated that in the context of preventing the repercussions of the unprecedented rise witnessed by the global prices of fuels, the ministry adopted a number of measures, including rationalizing the subsidy and directing it to those who deserve it, taking into account the purchasing power of vulnerable groups and the partial adjustment of the prices of electricity, gas and petroleum products.
She pointed to the importance of informing institutions through conducting energy audits and simplifying the procedures and deadlines for enjoying the interventions of the Energy Transition Fund by adopting digitization and simplifying procedures and accelerating the implementation of projects for self-production of electricity from renewable energies, in addition to implementing special programs for certain sectors, including agriculture, fishing and tourism.
It also stressed the need to rationalize energy consumption in all sectors through preventive maintenance of the transport fleet, use of new technologies for communication, encourage farmers to use solar energy to pump water, and encourage the use of energy-efficient equipment in the fishing sector.
For his part, the energy expert, Khaled Ben Kaddour, said during his intervention, which he delivered entitled “Reform of the hydrocarbon subsidy system from a social perspective that Tunisia produces only 3 percent of alternative energy while maintaining 97 percent of energy production through hydrocarbons, pointing out that Tunisia It has not witnessed the stage of energy transition, especially since it has not yet launched in the production of alternative energy.
For his part, the Secretary General of the General University of Oil and Chemicals, Salah al-Din al-Salmi, stressed the Tunisian General Labor Union’s refusal to create hidden-name companies to produce electricity and harm public institutions, despite its support for the production of alternative energies and the development of renewable energies.
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