New Delhi: Government will import 2-2.5 million tonnes of Euro III-compliant diesel for supply from Apr. 1 despite the country staggering the full-scale launch of the fuel to October, top officials said on Wednesday.
India had a target to implement Euro IV-compliant fuel in 13 major cities from April and upgrade the rest of the country’s fuel standards to Euro-III from Euro-II specifications.
But after a meeting on preparedness of Indian refineries to meet supply of new specifications in the country, junior oil minister Jitin Prasada said the phased launch of Euro III- compliant fuel would be completed by October.
“Euro-IV deadline of Apr. 1 will be met,” Prasada told reporters.
The country’s decision to import gasoil is expected to boost diesel market sentiments.
“Market sentiments for low sulphur diesel will be lifted because of imports by Indian refiners. Currently, the market is down because of large inventories including that in floating storages,” said an India-based gas oil trader.
“We will be importing about 2-2.5 million tonnes of Euro III diesel in four to five months from April,” Sarthak Behuria, chairman of Indian Oil Corp, said speaking on behalf of the oil industry.
Behuria said refiners are stretching their facilities to meet Euro III fuel supplies.
Supply of locally produced Euro III fuel for markets in India’s northeastern states, eastern Bihar and Jharkhand states and southern Kerala state, will only be possible from October.
By bringing in tighter fuel criteria to improve air quality, India is set to leapfrog Asian rival China, which started using a Euro III-like norm for petrol from 1 January, with a Euro III diesel equivalent set to become a national mandate from June 2011.
Oil secretary R.S. Pandey said the complete programme for a phase-wise introduction of the fuel will be known by mid-Feb.
Lack of infrastructure in some parts of the cities had necessitated the phased introduction of Euro III fuels, he added.
“Even if we import diesel, pipeline infrastructure is not in place in the north east,” said Pandey.