New Delhi: India’s December refinery annual output grew at its slowest pace since last August on units upgradation shutdown at many state-run plants to produce cleaner fuel and as local demand growth softened to 2.7%, government data showed on Friday.
In December, when refining margins for simple Asian refiners rose to 63 cents from minus 49 cents in November, Indian refiners processed 3.21 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, marginally up 0.9% from a year ago.
Many state refiners have shut down their units to meet the April deadline for Euro IV-compliant fuel in 13 major cities, while the roll out of Euro-II specs in rest of the country has been stagerred till October.
Crude processing at state-owned refineries, which meet local demand, declined 1.6% in December.
Throughput of refineries owned by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country’s biggest state-run refiner, declined by an annual 10.7% in December, when units at its biggest plant in western Gujarat state were shut for upgradation.
The maintenance shutdown of a diesel unit at IOC’s northern Panipat refinery was also extended, resulting in lower throughput. Some units at eastern Haldia refinery were also shut during the month for capacity expansion.
India’s second biggest state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp’s plants processed 19.7% more crude annually in December, while output of two refineries of Hindustan Petroleum Corp was down 1.8% during the month.
Crude processing at Reliance Industries’ 660,000 bpd plant in the western state of Gujarat rose an annual 6.2% in December.
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.
India’s total crude oil output in December declined an annual 1.1% to about 686,900 bpd, the data showed. Natural gas output grew 57.3% to 4.4 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 9.2% more crude than a year earlier at its Vadinar refinery, also in Gujarat.
Overall, production at Indian refineries in December stood at 107.3% of their installed capacity.