The rebound in diesel
demand is crucial for ramping up crude processing by Indian refiners after consumption was crushed by a strict lockdown in late March to check the spread of Covid-19. Indian Oil Corp., the country’s biggest refiner, has boosted its run rates to 93% of capacity and is hoping to reach 100% in a couple of months, Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said on Oct. 30.
“Demand is improving every month and everything is looking up,” said K Ravichandran, senior vice-president at credit assessor ICRA Ltd., the local unit of Moody’s Investors Service. “I see a good demand recovery in the second half of the financial year” unless virus cases start to rise sharply, he said.
The growth in diesel
also outpaced petrol sales that rose 4.2% from a year earlier to 2.22 million tons, according to the officials who asked not to be named as they’re not authorized to speak to the media. Liquefied petroleum gas posted a year-on-year gain of 3.7%, but aviation fuel sales volumes were at half of last year’s levels, the official said.
The three fuel retailers -- Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. -- which account for more than 90% of the nation’s fuel sales, declined to comment.
--With assistance from Andrew Janes.