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Tuesday, Sep 14, 2004

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Truckers' strike hits petrol, diesel sales

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Sept. 13

THE nationwide transporters' strike that began on August 17 affected retail sales of diesel and petrol across the country last month leading to a -3.1 per cent fall in overall sales of petroleum products in August 2004.

Diesel sales were hit the hardest with retail sales falling to -11.6 per cent. With most transporters off the roads for almost 10 days, petrol sales through retail outlets too dipped to -5.2 per cent.

"The strike did affect retail sales of transport fuels in August. But this is an aberration. We have been selling more petroleum products this financial year. And growth rates have been positive till August, thanks to the overall increase in demand," said a senior official with Indian Oil Corporation.

Even compressed natural gas, which has been recording growth rates of more than 100 per cent, recorded a relatively poor showing at 64.1 per cent in August 2004 compared to 135.1 per cent growth in August last year.

Bulk sales of petrol and diesel were down to -3.9 per cent and -1.5 per cent, respectively.

Aviation turbine fuel sales grew 15 per cent in August. According to public sector oil companies, which rule this market, the entry of new airlines in India has boosted sales in the last few months.

Although kerosene sales through the public distribution system continued to fall, following the import ban by the Union Government in November last year, bulk sales improved by 44.4 per cent. LPG sales too improved to 12.2 per cent.

Among feedstock products naphtha recorded a -14.7 per cent fall in consumption. According to oil PSUs, the main reason for this is the increasing replacement of naphtha with natural gas by user industries. Furnace oil and low sulphur heavy stock recorded a cumulative 2.3 per cent rise in sales.

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