NEW DELHI: IndianOil has ramped up refinery operations to 83% of capacity as fuel demand more than doubled on easing of corona curbs to allow economic activities to resume.
The capacity utilisation of refineries operated by India’s largest oil refiner and fuel retailer had dropped to 39% as demand crashed 70% in April after the countrywide lockdown was imposed from March 25.
The lockdown sent vehicles off roads and practically brought all economic activities, except essential services, to a grinding halt. “The crude oil throughput of IOC refineries crossed 80% as on date, with consumption of all petroleum products put together almost doubling in May as compared to April levels,” the company said.
Petrol leads growth in fuel demand
At 70%, petrol led the month-on-month growth in fuel demand, followed by diesel at 59%. But jet fuel sales are still lagging at 24% of the normal level. Jet fuel sales had dipped 90% after the lockdown began. Demand for industrial refined products such as fuel oil, bitumen, pet coke and sulphur has also shown marked improvement to allow refinery operations to be raised, the company said. In the case of LPG, with the company rolling out about 25 lakh refills a day, the average backlog is less than a day.
The company’s nine refineries saw throughput gradually being raised from about 55% of capacity at the beginning of May to about 78 % by the month-end, and 83% as on date, it said.
“With Guwahati refinery coming online after a maintenance shutdown, IOC refineries are geared to operate at about 90% of their capacities this month, as products demand in the market increases, together with strategic product exports,” the statement said.