San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica's oil imports rose by almost 3 percent in 2010

During the past year the Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery (Recope) imported 18 million barrels of oil, a 2.6 percent increase from 2009. The average cost per barrel was $80.23. Costa Rica is expected to import an estimated 21.5 million barrels of fuel in 2010, at an estimated cost of $95 per barrel.

The main reason for the increase in prices has been economic recovery, which is driving oil consumption, especially in developing countries that are taking advantage of the weakening dollar.

On Tuesday, the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (ARESEP) approved the first adjustment in fuel prices for 2011.
Beginning Jan. 25, Premium gasoline will increase 7 cents per liter, Plus gasoline will go up 17 cents per liter, and diesel will cost 2 cents more.

Last week, Dr. Fatih Birol, the Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said that oil prices had reached a dangerous zone. In recent weeks, worldwide cost per barrel of oil has flirted with the $100 mark, while the international average per barrel of fuel is around $89.

“The oil import bills are becoming a threat to the economic recovery,” said Birol in a statement.

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