Indian oil refiners cut output, imports as pandemic hits demand

  • India’s top state oil refiners are reducing processing runs and crude imports as the surging COVID-19 pandemic has cut fuel consumption, leading to higher product stockpiles at the plants, company officials told Reuters on 11 May 21.
  • Indian Oil Corp, the country’s biggest refiner, has reduced runs to an average of between 85% and 88% of processing capacity from 95% previously, a company official said, adding runs could be cut further as its plants at Gujarat, Mathura and Panipat are facing problems storing bitumen and sulphur.
  • “We do not anticipate that our crude processing would be reduced to 2020’s level of 65%-70% as inter-state vehicle movement is still there … (the) economy is functioning,” he said.
  • State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp has cut its crude imports by 1 million barrels in May 21 and will reduce purchases by 2 million barrels in Jun 21, a company official said.
  • M.K. Surana, chairman of Hindustan Petroleum Corp, expects India’s fuel consumption in May 21 to fall by 5% m/m as the impact on driving and industrial production is not as severe as 2020.
  • HPCL has no immediate plan to cut crude runs, he said, although the company has shut some units at its 150,000 bpd Mumbai refinery for maintenance and upgrade.
  • State-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd’s is already operating its 300,000 bpd complex at lower rates because of maintenance at a 60,000 bpd crude unit and some secondary units, a company official said.

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