New Delhi: The government expects fuel consumption to grow 6% next fiscal while crude oil imports are slated for a rise, despite slowdown in the economy.
“The economy continues to grow at over 7% and so we expect demand for petroleum products to (grow) 6% this year and around the same levels even next year,” petroleum secretary R.S. Pandey said.
Fuel consumption in April-November period of 2008-09 fiscal grew by 4% to 86.6 million tonnes and industry officials said Pandey may have mentioned about fuel sales by public sector firms.
“Certainly, there is negative growth in products like jet fuel, fuel oil, naphtha and even industrial LPG sold by the private firms. The cumulative growth this fiscal may be 3.5-4%,” an industry official said.
“We began the fiscal with a forecast of 137.5 million tonnes of product consumption considering 6.5% growth rate. However, the demand pattern led to a revision to 133.4 million tonnes and we are not sure if we can end the year with even this,” he said.
Fuel consumption grew 6.8% to 128.94 million tonnes in 2007-08 fiscal. “There is growth in petrol and diesel but free-priced products have seen a negative growth rate.”
Pandey said with increase in refining capacity, primarily due to commissioning of only-for-exports refinery of Reliance Petroleum, crude oil imports next fiscal would rise.
India imported 121.67 million tonnes of crude for $68 billion in 2007-08 and 86.08 million tonnes in April-November for $63.76 billion. Next fiscal would see RPL operating its refinery at near full capacity of 29 million tonnes, thereby adding to the imports.