India’s crude oil imports fell in July to their lowest since March 2010 as fuel demand slowed amid renewed coronavirus-induced lockdowns and closures of refinery units for maintenance, government data showed on Thursday.
Crude oil imports last month slumped about 36.4 per cent from a year earlier to 12.34 million tonnes, or 2.92 million barrels per day, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas showed.
That marked a fourth straight monthly decline. Fuel demand in the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer also fell, posting a fifth consecutive year-on-year drop.
The country reported a record daily jump of 69,652 coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking the total number of cases to 2.84 million, data from the federal health ministry showed.
India is also Asia’s third-biggest economy, which imports and exports refined fuels.
Refined product imports surged 46.4 per cent to 4.07 million tonnes year-on-year, mainly due to a sharp jump in India’s fuel oil imports. Fuel oil imports rose to record 1.22 million tonnes in July from 127,000 tonnes a year ago.
Reliance Industries Ltd, operator of the world’s biggest refining complex, has been buying some straight-run fuel oil from countries including Iraq to process at its revamped coker, to maximise refining margins.
However, exports of refined products fell 22.7 per cent in July to 3.92 million tonnes, their lowest since April 2018.
Diesel shipments continued to hold a major share of the total exports at 2.06 million tonnes, down 21.1 per cent year on year, the data showed.
Demand for diesel, which is widely used for transportation as well as for irrigation needs in India, fell about 19.3 per cent year-on-year to 5.52 million tonnes, in July.