New Delhi: Indian refiners processed 4.3% less crude in May than a year earlier due to planned maintenance work at some refineries and shrinking margins, official data showed on Friday.
Combined crude processing at Reliance Industries’ two export-focused plants at Jamnagar in western Gujarat state fell 6.9% from a year ago, smaller than an annual decline of 9% in April.
Indian refiners processed 3.02 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in May, as margins for simple Asian refiners shrank to 82 cents from $1.57 a barrel in April.
Crude oil output in May fell an annual 4.3% to 658,000 bpd, the data showed, while natural gas output grew 18.35 to 3.41 billion cubic metres from a year ago as Reliance stepped up supplies from its D-6 block in the east coast.
Essar Oil, another private refiner, processed 3.4% less crude than a year earlier at its Vadinar refinery, which was upgraded in April to process 280,000 bpd. The refinery was restarted on 3 Mayafter a planned 17-day shutdown.
Maintenance work at refineries reduced throughput of plants owned by Indian Oil Corp, the country’s biggest state-run refiner, by 8% and that of Bharat Petroleum Corp units by 19.1%.
Crude processing at Hindustan Petroleum Corp’s two refineries rose 56.3% in May from a year earlier.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest report said world oil demand would contract by less than previously expected in 2009, and raised its 2009 forecast for the first time in almost a year.
The agency, which advises 28 industrialized countries, has not changed its Indian oil demand forecast of 3.2 million bpd this year.
Crude processing at state refiners, which meet local demand, declined 3% in May.
Overall, production at Indian refineries in May stood at 102.5% of installed capacity.