India’s crude oil imports fell in June 2020 to their lowest level since February 2015, while its export of refined products also declined on a year-on-year basis, for the first time in almost a year, government data showed.
Crude oil imports last month dropped about 19 per cent from a year earlier to 13.68 million tonnes, down for a third straight month, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas showed.
With higher crude imports at the start of the year, India’s crude storage tanks are still well filled, reducing the need to import more crude for now.
Fuel demand in India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, fell 7.8 per cent in June compared with a year earlier as surging coronavirus cases and rising retail prices hammered demand. India’s fuel demand recovery will continue to stall as coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket, analysts fear. India’s tally of Covid-19 cases jumped by a record 55,078 on Friday to 1.64 million in India.
Oil product exports fell about 6 per cent, their first year-on-year fall since August 2019, primarily driven by declining diesel exports, which slid to their lowest since April last year. Shipments of diesel also registered their first year-on-year decline since August last year, falling 5.7 per cent to 2.09 million tonnes.
To contain the rising inventories, some refineries are now planning to conduct maintenance and shutdowns in late third quarter of 2020, which will likely keep exports in check. The country’s top refiner, Indian Oil Corporation, said it would continue to operate its refineries below capacity in 2020/21 as it expected local and overseas fuel demand to remain subdued.