New Delhi: Indian refiners processed 7.2% more crude oil in October than a year earlier, the biggest rise in 16 months, as most plants ramped up runs to meet growing local and overseas demand, data showed on Wednesday.
Crude processing at Reliance Industries’ 660,000 bpd plant in the western state of Gujarat rose an annual 4.8% in October, the strongest growth since June 2008.
Reliance does not provide details of crude runs at its new export-focused 580,000 bpd refinery, located next to the larger plant. Together, they form the world’s biggest refining complex.
The private refiner has gradually reopened nearly 63% of its retail outlets for local sales besides direct supplies to the state-refiners.
In October, refining margins for simple Asian refiners declined to minus 94 cents from $1.20 in September. In its November report, the International Energy Agency raised its 2009 global oil demand estimate from the previous month by 210,000 barrels to 84.8 million barrels per day (bpd), following a strengthening of the world economy.
The IEA has said China and India will be responsible for most of the world’s oil demand growth over next two decades.
India’s total crude oil output in October declined an annual 2.2% to about 674,800 bpd, the data showed. Natural gas output grew 44.2% to 4.08 billion cubic metres as Reliance stepped up supplies from its D-6 block, off India’s east coast.
Essar Oil, the country’s only other private refiner, processed 7.3% more crude than a year earlier at its Vadinar refinery, also in Gujarat.
Crude processing at state-owned refineries, which meet local demand, in October rose 7.9% as they had no major repair works.
Throughput of refineries owned by Indian Oil Corp, the country’s biggest state-run refiner, grew by 8.8% in October and that of Bharat Petroleum Corp units by 9.9%.
Crude processing at two refineries of Hindustan Petroleum Corp, India’s third largest state-run refiner, declined 10.5% as the company had shut one of the crude units at its Mumbai plant for 12 days for furnace maintenance job.
Overall, production at Indian refineries in October stood at 112.7% of their installed capacity.