In steepest fall since 2003, processing of crude slumps 29%

Reuters May 25 | Updated on May 25, 2020

India’s crude oil processing in April slumped by 28.8 per cent from a year ago, its biggest drop since at least 2003, as a nationwide lockdown weighed on fuel demand and forced refiners to cut production.

Refiners processed about 14.75 million tonnes or 3.60 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil last month, government data showed. The lockdown and travel curbs aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19 since March 25 forced people to stay home, cutting the country’s fuel demand by 45.8 per cent in April.

Falling demand led Indian refiners and gas importers to declare force majeure on imports.

Refiners, struggling to store oil and products, had to sell some oil to the government which used it to fill strategic storage.

Indian refiners operated at about 72 per cent of their overall capacity of about 5 million bpd, the data showed.

Indian Oil Corp operated its plant at about 53 per cent capacity, while use at the refineries owned by its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum plunged to about 33 per cent of capacity, the data showed. Reliance Industries Ltd, operator of the world’s biggest refining complex, operated its export-focussed 700,000 bpd Jamnagar refinery at about 87 per cent capacity.

Nayara Energy, part owned by Russia’s Rosneft, curtailed runs at its 400,000 bpd Vadinar refinery to 85 per cent of capacity.

India, which imports over 80 per cent of its oil needs, produced 6.4 per cent less oil in April than a year ago at around 2.55 mt or 620,000 bpd, data showed.

Published on May 25, 2020

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