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NEW DELHI : India's crude oil production fell 2.15% in October as state-owned firms produced less but, natural gas output rose by a quarter on the back of output from KG-D6 fields of Reliance-BP, government data released on Tuesday showed.

Crude oil production dropped to 2.51 million tonnes in October, as output from fields operated by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) dipped.

While ONGC produced 4% less crude oil at 1.64 million tonnes, OIL output dropped 1.46% to 2,53,000 tonnes.

India is 85% dependent on imports to meet its oil needs and the government has been for long looking at ways to raise the domestic output so as to reduce import dependence.

Crude oil is converted into fuels such as petrol and diesel in refineries.

Production of natural gas, which is used to fire power plants, run fertiliser units and convert into CNG to automobiles, rose 24.7% to 3.01 billion cubic metres in October.

This is because the output from fields operated by private firms jumped 203.6%.

ONGC, the nation's largest oil and gas producer, produced 4.4% less gas at 1.8 bcm.

As fuel demand rebounded, oil refineries processed more crude oil in October. At 21 million tonnes, crude processing in October was 14% higher than the year-ago period.

The crude thruput has been on the rise in the last few months, as the easing of coronavirus restrictions boosted economic activity and fed demand for fuel.

Public sector refineries processed 8.5% more crude at 11.7 million tonnes, while private refiner Reliance Industries turned 5.3% more crude into fuel.

Refineries produced 14.4% more petroleum products in October at 21.6 million tonnes and 12% more in April-October at 141 million tonnes.

Overall, the refineries operated at 98.76% of their installed capacity, against 86.66% capacity utilisation in October 2020.

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