The country’s refiners’ crude throughput in June was little changed from the previous month when it fell to multi-month lows as a severe second wave of coronavirus restrained demand, forcing refiners to reduce runs.
Refiners processed 4.50 million barrels per day (18.4 million tonnes) of crude oil in June, provisional government data showed on Friday. This compares with 4.49 million barrels per day (bpd) processed in May, which was the lowest since October 2020.
Crude oil imports also fell to a nine-month low in June as refiners curtailed purchases amid higher fuel inventories due to low consumption and renewed lockdowns in the previous two months, data obtained from trade sources showed.
Refineries’ crude oil throughput last month was still 4.7 per cent higher than June 2020 levels. India’s fuel demand also inched higher after slumping to a nine-month low in May as many states in the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer started easing restrictions and mobility picked up.
The state fuel retailers’ gasoline sales also exceeded pre-pandemic levels in the first fortnight of July, preliminary industry data showed last week.
“With a further likely easing of mobility restrictions, I would expect oil demand to recover further, resulting in higher refinery processing rates down the road,” UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.
The refiners operated at an average rate of 89.59 per cent of capacity in June, down from 92.37 per cent of capacity in May, the government data showed.
The country’s largest refiner, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), last month operated its directly owned plants at 93.53 per cent capacity, as per the data. Reliance, owner of the world’s biggest refining complex, operated its plants at 93.12 per cent capacity in June.
Natural gas output rose 19.5 per cent to 2.78 billion cubic metres, while crude oil production eased nearly two per cent to 606,000 barrels per day (2.48 million tonnes), data from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas showed.
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