India’ petroleum product demand doubles in May, after sharp drop in April

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A fuel pump in the Indian capital

With country’ petroleum product demand doubling in May, India’s largest refiner Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) said its refineries are operating at almost 90 per cent of their capacity.

This comes in the backdrop of Indian economy slowing coming back to life after the world’s strictest lockdown. The state-owned refiner had slashed its refining capacity to 39%, following a sharp drop in India’s petroleum product demand because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The crude oil throughput of IndianOil refineries crossed 80%, with consumption of all petroleum products put together almost doubling in May ’20 as compared to April ’20 levels,” IOC said in a statement.

India’s power and overall energy demand, which had nosedived, is also slowly getting to their pre-lockdown levels, Mint newspaper reported. Energy consumption, especially electricity and refinery products, is typically linked to overall demand in an economy.

“While the consumption of all petroleum products put together almost doubled in May ’20 compared to April ’20 levels, growth of petrol was higher at about 70% and diesel at 59%. Compared to May ’19, the growth percentage has still to catch up by 24% to 26% for all products. In the case of LPG, with the Corporation rolling out about 25 lakh cylinder refills a day, the average backlog is less than a day,” the statement said.

Along with growing consumption of white oils petrol and diesel (except ATF, which is still lagging at about 24% of normal level), the demand for black oils and specialty products like fuel oil, bitumen, petcoke and sulphur has also shown marked improvement, facilitating increase of refineries throughput,” the statement said. The development is also important as India is a key refining hub in Asia, with an installed capacity of more than 249.36 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) through 23 refineries. Large Indian refiners include IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Nayara Energy Ltd (formerly Essar Oil) and Reliance Industries Ltd.

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