Throughput at IOC refineries rises to 100% in Nov on growing demand

Topics IOC | Oil refineries | petrol

A logo of Indian Oil is picture outside a fuel station in New Delhi | Photo: Reuters
State run refiner Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Thursday said crude oil throughput at its refineries rose to 100 per cent in November, with demand for petroleum products now close to pre-Covid levels.

“Consumption of all petroleum products has almost reached pre-Covid levels,” IOC said in its statement. It added, IOC’s refining utilisation in October was at 88 per cent and at 99 per cent in November 2019.

IOC noted demand for petrol is now higher than last year. In November, IOC said, sale of petrol was at 1.06 million tonne (MMT), 4 per cent higher compared to the year ago period. Liquified petroleum gas (LPG) demand, IOC said, is up 1.4 per cent year on year.

S M Vaidya, chairman of IOC, expects a V-shaped recovery in demand for petroleum products. “The Indian economy continues to witness the green shoots of revival. As we get closer to the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, the fundamentals of the economy being strong, we see a rapid V-shaped recovery in the overall consumption of petroleum products,” he said.

Demand for diesel continues to lag behind on a year-on-year basis. IOC said, demand for diesel in November, was sequentially higher at 2 per cent, but still 9 per cent lower than the last year. Restrictions on air travel also kept demand for aviation turbine fuel (ATF) low in November, with a sequential growth of 4 per cent and a 45 per cent decline seen on a year-on-year basis.

The nation-wide lockdown in March and the temporary closure of industrial activity and travel, led to mass demand destruction for petroleum products. This also forced refineries to cut down on throughput. According to Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) data, overall petroleum products consumption in April declined 45.8 per cent on a year-on-year basis. LPG, PPAC said, was the only product which registered a year-on-year growth of 12.2 per cent during April.

IOC said, as the Indian economy prepares to bounce back, it has gradually started raising raised the throughput of its refineries to the maximum capacity in the last six months. IOC’s refining utilisation at the start of May was at 55 per cent of its rated capacity.

“Concomitantly with the growing consumption of white oils, petrol, diesel and ATF, the demand for black oils and speciality products like fuel oil, bitumen, petcoke and sulphur, is also improving, leading to an increase in throughput of refineries,” IOC said.

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