Mumbai, March 11
SALES of petroleum products fell by more than 2 per cent in the last month compared to February 2004.
Diesel sales, which form 40 per cent of total petroleum products' sales in India, recorded a 6.7 per cent fall in February 2005 compared to February 2004.
According to officials of public sector oil companies, diesel sales last year were higher than normal as it was a leap year. One day of sales amounts to extra volumes of roughly 60,000 tonnes.
Also, unseasonal rains in northern India meant lower demand for diesel used for agricultural pumps.
Petrol sales increased by 1.4 per cent. Cooking fuels kerosene and LPG recorded growth of 4.5 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.
Kerosene sales had been falling for more than one year. Last month, however, the Government increased allocation of kerosene through the public distribution system in the southern States that have been affected by the tsunami disaster, resulting in larger volumes supplied by oil companies.
LPG sales, too, recorded lower than normal growth as oil companies have tightened norms to check the illegal use of domestic cooking gas by restaurants and vehicles, a senior Indian Oil official said.
Naphtha sales saw a 19 per cent drop in sales. Sales have been affected because of power and fertiliser units switching to natural gas instead of using the more expensive liquid fuel.
Sales of furnace oil and low sulphur heavy stock, used mostly by small industrial users, rose 9.2 per cent indicating a growth in the manufacturing sector.
Aviation turbine fuel also sold 11 per cent more than last year. With more airlines flying an increased number of routes within and to India, these sales are expected to rise further.
Compressed natural gas sold 20.6 per cent more in February and lubricants also recorded a 9.5 per cent growth in sales.