India’s crude oil processing in April declined by 28.8% from a year earlier, its biggest drop since at least 2003, as a nationwide lockdown impacted on fuel demand and forced refiners to cut production.
Refiners processed about 14.75 million tonnes or 3.60 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil last month, data showed by government. Falling demand led Indian refiners and gas importers to declare forced unavoidable casualty on imports.
Indian Oil Corporation, India’s top refiner, operated its plant at about 53% capacity, while use at the refineries owned by its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum plunged to about 33% of capacity. India, which imports over 80% of its oil needs, produced 6.4% less oil in April than a year earlier at around 2.55 million tonnes or 620,000 bpd, according to data.
Natural gas output fell 18.6% to 2.16 billion cubic metres, data showed.
Refiners, struggling to store oil and products, had to sell some oil to the federal government which used it to fill strategic storage.
India has extended its nationwide restrictions to May 31 2020, but flexible rules in areas with lower numbers of cases leading to some recovery in fuel demand and refiner comes into picture this month.