The National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) announced last week the oil bill for Central America surpassed the $12 billion mark in 2008, rising almost 43 percent from 2007. Costa Rica spent a record $2.1 billion on petroleum imports, up from $1.4 billion in 2007.
In a report released by RECOPE, economists were cited saying that the increase is closely tied to the rise in the price of fuel in the international market even though the volume imported increased.
In 2007, Costa Rica imported about 18.4 million barrels, while in 2008, about 19.2 million barrels were imported.
According to estimates from middle of last year, the situation could have been more difficult, given that oil reached a historic high price of $147 per barrel.
“The conditions in the international market changed radically,” said RECOPE President José León Desanti, “allowing us to end the year spending $800 million less than predicted.” Oil traded around $41 this week.