Reliance is also seeking to sell cargoes already at sea as the government has stopped export of crude oil. By selling the crude, Reliance hopes to avoid demurrage costs especially as freight rates have risen, said a source.
The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Reliance operates the world's biggest refining complex with capacity to process 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil at Jamnagar in Gujarat. "As of now, the plan is to cut refining throughput in April because demand is not there," the source said. The company is also reportedly in talks with producers to defer some cargoes.
Reliance's two advanced refineries, situated next to each other, have the capability to process some of the toughest cheaper grades available in the market.
The refiner sells most products from the 660,000 bpd refinery that focuses on the domestic market through its own retail stations and by sale to state fuel retailers, which dominate India's fuel retail market.
India introduced a 21-day lockdown that began on Wednesday to stem the spread of coronavirus in the country, leading to a drastic fall in local fuel demand. Several refiners have cut refining processing due to the lockdown.
Reliance's other 704,000 bpd plant exports products to overseas markets, where demand is also hit as nations restrict the movement of people to prevent the virus from spreading.
(Reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore and Nidhi Verma in New Delhi; Editing by Mark Potter and Susan Fenton)